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African Verse

The Takhmis or Long-measure Verse is the 19th century Swahili version of a devotional Arabic stanzaic form of the same name. The Arabic Takhmis (to make five) dates back to the 18th century. In the Arabic form, L1-L3 of the stanza made up of 5 single hemistiches serves as a comtemporary expansion of L4-L5 which is verse written by an earlier poet, similar to the Glosa. The Swahili version appears to double up the hemistiches and most often is written by a single poet.

  • The elements of the Arabic Takhmis are:
    1. lyrical devotion.
    2. stanzaic, written in 5 single hemistiches with the last 2 hemistiches adapted from earlier work of another poet,
    3. rhyme scheme aaaax bbbbx x being unrhymed.
  • The elements of the Swahili Takhmis are:
    1. either a narrative or a lyrical medition.
    2. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains
    3. syllabic, with at least 15 syllables, the line should be in 2 hemistiches and all lines should be approximately the same length.
    4. rhymed, aaax bbbx cccx etc. NPEOPP

African Poetic Genres and Forms

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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