Droighneach (drá-yi-nah, ‘thorny’) is a traditional Irish quatrain stanza of 9-to-13-syllable lines alternately rimed (abab), always on 3-syllable words, with at least two cross-rimes linking the pair of lines in each half and involving those lines’ end-words, plus alliteration in every line, usually between the end-word and the preceding stressed word—always the case for a quatrain’s last line. Being Irish, it also requires the dunedh, meaning it should end where it began (opening word or phrase or line repeated at the end). It is also described here:


…and here:

My thanks to Gary Kent Spain, aka Venicebard on Allpoetry.
I have copied below both links he provided, unfortunately neither poet was able to follow the first requirement – ending each line with a three-syllable word.
Author Notes accompanying Gary’s Poem below:

My hobby since childhood—never quite grew up! In the 80s, when I was a programmer and had tons of money but no life, I acquired a collection of micro-scale (1/300) WW2 Russian front stuff: once counted just draft horses and had over a thousand, plus several hundred cavalry. Now, of course, no time nor space for them, so the above is all in my mind at the moment.
God’s Paintbrush (Self-Satirical Droighneach)
I’m a military miniature:  commander,
whose panzer division invades a vast library.
No adversary yet:  I’d prefer to philander
but, in all candor, can’t, be’ng lead—quite the contrary!

I’m ten millimeters tall, dark-haired, and handsomely
decked-out in dandy garb, my honor unimpaired.
A fine match! had God not dared, rudely, randomly,
to make me small, handy for his wars, all undeclared.

I see God now, armed with air-brush, advancing
to paint pants with coats field grey, dapper and debonair.
Care He’ll take to touch hands and face with flesh, enhancing
our stance’s appearance, dirt-dappled and doctrinaire.

Shall we commend God’s industry?  Call His quandary
fond, airy prospect of war-games couched on calendar.
His hand arrays us, ready by time’s boundary.
I’m a military miniature:  come and err.
[And, dear jongleur, please pronounce err properly, else all will end up unseemly and up in the ‘air’!]


Droighneach (dra’iy-nach) Gaelic, is Oglachas, straying from some of the stringent rules of dán direach yet adding other requirements which make the frame no less difficult. It is sometimes referred to as “the thorny” because of the degree of difficulty in writing this ancient Irish Verse Form that employs cross rhyme and requires 3 syllable end words.

The Droighneach is:
• a loose stanzaic form usually written with any number of octaves but it could be quatrains.
• syllabic with each line with 9 to 13 syllables.
• terminated, written with 3 syllable end words.
• rhymed, with alternating end rhyme abab cdcd etc.
• composed with cross rhyme. There are at least two cross-rhymes in each couplet and alliteration in each line; usually the final word of the line alliterates with the preceding stressed word, this is always true of the last line.
• written with the defining features of most Celtic poems, cywddydd (harmony of sound) and dunadh (beginning and ending the poem with the same word, phrase or line.)

(x x d) b x x x (x x a)
x x x x a x x x (x x b)
x x x x x b (x x a)
x x x x a x x (x x b)
x x x x x d x x (x x c)
x x x c x x x x x x (x x d)
x x d x x x x x x (x x c)
x x x x c x (d x d)

Incomprehensible by Judi Van Gorder
Brutality bursts in the streets of Fallujah,
a plethora of purposeless mutilation,
the execution, a disgrace to Allah,
a disgusting coup d’ etat in jubilation.

Humanity is not served by the criminals,
victim’s funerals expose the amorality.
A pity mankind oft’ acts as cannibals,
animals display less base brutality.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?/topic/1172-droighneach/
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on the PMO resource.


Droighneach (dra’iy-nach):
A loose stanza form. Each line can have from nine to thirteen syllables, and it always ends in a trisyllabic word. There is rhyming between lines one and three, two and four, etc. Stanzas can have any number of quatrains. There are at least two cross-rhymes in each couplet and alliteration in each line; usually the final word of the line alliterates with the preceding stressed word, and this is always true of the last line.

x x d b x x x (x x a)
x x x x a x x x (x x b)
x x x x x b (x x a)
x x x x a x x (x x b)
x x x x x d x x (x x c)
x x x c x x x x x x (x x d)
x x d x x x x x x (x x c)
x x x x c x (x x d)

Silken Lady

A silken coat enhances her elegance,
casually clad, but warm and enfolding
her slim limbs in folds of furry fragrance;
green eyes gaze haughtily- a heart beholding.

She licks her lips, a pink tongue seen- disappears;
a lazy yawn, with blinking eyes, amazes,
her devoted audience she domineers.
A soft scream- hairs on end- her purr appraises.
©Leny Roovers 29-10-2004

Pasted from http://www.thepoetsgarret.com/celtic1.html#dro

My example poem

Grandiose (Droighneach)

Contemplate before the jongleurs congregate.
If your work is great, that work they may elevate
some day (some say you’ have to wait and die), consecrate
what they appreciate, and critics nominate.

Given my more likely fate (if you are wondering)
to wander in obscurity (we populate
the wide world, mate) and cause laughs by my blundering.
To be but an underling is hard to contemplate.

© Lawrencealot – August 8, 2014

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