Deachnadh Mor

Deachnadh Mor


Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Other Requirement, Stanzaic


Supposedly pronounced da-GNAW-moor, this is a complex Irish syllabic form. Here are the rules:

  1. The form is a stanzaic quatrain form.

  1. Lines one and three have eight syllables.

  1. Lines two and four have six syllables.

  2. The lines have di-syllabic endings, meaning the last two syllables are both involved in the consonation.

  1. The stanza consonates in an alternating (abab) pattern.

  1. There are at least two cross-rhymes in each couplet.

  1. The final word of line three rhymes with a word in the interior of line four.

  1. The internal rhyme in the first couplet can consonate instead of true rhyme.

  2. In the second couplet, rhymes are exact.

  3. Two words alliterate in each line.

  4. In line four, the final word alliterates with the previous stressed word.

  5. The poem (not the stanza) should end as it began, with a word, phrase or line the same. (Dunadh)

Obviously, with so few syllables packing so many forms of binding, it will probably be that each syllable will participate in multiple ways. One syllable might be alliterative internally, rhyming within the couplet, and consonating with the alternate line. This is not a form for beginners, and works much better in other languages, such as Gaelic. To the ancient Celts, poetry was magic. Their forms are very complex to keep the magic among the priestly (Druidic) classes. One of their poets often had the equivalent in study to a doctoral degree in our society.








(aa) = Di-syllabic consonation.
(bb) = Di-syllabic consonation.
á = True rhyme.
c, d = true rhymes or consonations binding the couplet.
e, f = true rhymes binding the couplet.

This schema does not show the alliteration.



Pasted from
My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.


Restated specifications:

Begin the poem with a two-syllable word, which will become the poem’s final word.
L1-5 (Line one syllable 5) must R/C (rhyme or consonate with L2-2.
Two words in line should alliterate.
L2-4 must R/C with L1-2. Two words in line should alliterate.
L3-2 must true rhyme with L4-4. Two words in line should alliterate.
L3-5 must true rhyme with L4-2. Two words in line should alliterate.
L4-3 must true rhyme with L3-8. Two words in line should alliterate.
Final Stanza.
The last word must be the first word of Stanza 1,
therefore will determine the end-rhyme for L2 and L4.

Venicebard – Okay, here comes some tough love. You’re missing the aicill rime (end-word rimed with word within following line) in the second couplet. Also, I’m afraid when modern specs (for Irish forms) speak of ‘consonance’, they actually mean assonance (the two words were considered equivalent a half century ago, except perhaps in the technical speech of linguists), though today the technical meaning is agreement of more than one sound (can include vowel). The cross-rimes in Dan Direach allow assonance in cross-rimes of first couplet of quatrain. Full rime in Irish, of course, itself allows substitution of like-sounding consonants (p-t-k, etc.) (By the way, this form is so close to the modern specs for Rannaigheacht Bheag as to be suspect.) It is in the Welsh forms (and proto-Welsh measures) that consonance in its modern technical meaning is utilized extensively, but the specs for Irish forms given in John O’Donovan’s A Grammar of the Irish Language show that it was what we call assonance that was called for where the modern specs tend to say ‘consonance’. (Many Irish poets themselves may be unaware of this, however, not having looked into the history of their tradition, and indeed I have only the one source to go by so far, more or less.) -Gary Kent Spain, posting as Venicebard on Allpoetry.

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Deachnadh mor

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