Shairi, or Rustavelian Quatrain
Shota Rustaveli wroteThe Knight in the Panther’s Skin, Georgia’s national epic, towards the end of the twelfth century. It tells of a young prince helping to find a friend’s beloved, who has been captured by devils. Rustaveli used a particularly difficult form for it, known by the Georgian word shairi.
The recommended rules for English-language shairi are: 4-line stanzas, with all four lines rhyming with one another. The lines are unusually long, having 15 or 16 syllables, and all the rhymes are of either two or three syllables.
Note for purists
In Georgia, each line of a shairi has exactly 16 syllables, and they recognise two varieties of the form. In a magali (high) shairi stanza the syllables divide 4/4//4/4 (in each of the four lines), whereas in a dabali (low) shairi they divide 5/3//5/3. InThe Knight in the Panther’s Skin (or Vepkhis Tqaosani, if you prefer), Rustaveli alternated magali and dabali stanzas for the entire length of the poem – no fewer than 1576 stanzas.
© Bob Newman 2004, 2005. All rights reserved.
Pasted from <http://volecentral.co.uk/vf/rustaveli.htm>
My thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful resource above.
Stanzaic, quatrains, mono rhyme, multi-syllabic rhyme
Redirected Feelings (Rustavelian Quatrain)
She faced each day with deep desires- that seemed to her distressing.
Her husband’s morally correct, and counts his wife a blessing
and’s careful to avoid an act that might call for confessing,
and sadly that means he won’t watch his pretty wife undressing.
His attitude left her in doubt that her looks were appealing.
So secretly she bought some clothes- the kind that are revealing,
then once each week would flash to men the charms she’d been concealing.
To watch men stare at cleavage bare, aroused in her warm feelings.
She soon could not deny the rush- the moist and warm sensation-
so weekly outings multiplied; then there was escalation.
Her exhibition soon became a road to fun flirtation,
a road she knew was but a path, a path to her damnation.
She told herself, “This path is wrong! I’ll stop, what I’m inviting.
I’ll find a hobby stay at home although that’s less exciting.”
She switched her gears, and it appears, more people she’s delighting,
She’s famous now, and satisfied with her erotic writing.