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Georgia : Shairi or Rustavalian Quatrain, Dabali Shairi & Magali Shairi, & Bekisurki


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Slavic Verse

Georgia: is one of the oldest cultures of the Slavic nations dating back to 3rd century BC. Although it has been invaded by many cultures over the centuries including Mongols, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Germans, Russians it has miraculously preserved its culture, language and religion. The oldest verse was religious but secular works emerged early producing both epic and lyrical poetry.

  • Shairi Meter, sometimes called the Rustavalian Quatrain, was the standard stanzaic form of 12th century Georgia. Poet Shota Rustaveli, dubbed the master of Georgian art, utilized the shairi extensively in his narrative works. His Knight in a Tiger Skin is his best known epic written in shairi meter. The verse was distinguished by its rich use of vocabulary, powerful images, alliteration and complex rhyme.

    There are 2 types of shairi quatrains which are usually alternated within a poem, the Dabali (low) and Magali (high). The difference between the 2 is in the placement of caesura within the line and whether the end rhyme is double or triple syllables.

    The elements of the Shairi are :

    1. usually a narrative.
    2. stanzaic, written in quatrains. Usually written in any number of alternating dabili and magali shairi quatrains. It is unimportant whether or not the poem begins with a quatrain of dabali shairis or magali shairis.
    3. rhymed, quatrains are monorhymed aaaa bbbb cccc etc. End rhyme is 3 syllables in the dabali shairi and 2 syllables in the magali shairi.
    4. syllabic, 16 syllables per line broken by caesura.
      • Dabali shairi is written in lines of 5-3-5-3 syllables with caesura after the 5th syllable, the 8th syllable and the 13th syllable with a 3 syllable end rhyme. xxxxx,xxx,xxxxx,(xxa).
      • Magali shairi is written in lines of 4-4-4-4 syllables with caesura after the 4th syllable, the 8th syllable and the 12th syllable with a 2 syllable end rhyme. xxxx,xxxx,xxxx,xx(xb).
  • Besikuri or Besikian verse was the creation of 18th century Georgian poet Bessarion Gabashvili, often referred to as Besiki. His love poems, although elegant, were sometimes too flowery however his original meter became a popular verse form of the time.

    Besikian verse is a 14 syllable line with caesura after the 2nd syllable, 5th syllable, 9th syllable, and 11th syllable.
                  x x * x x x * x x x x *x x * x x x


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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