May lai

I had this one prepared as I wasn’t sure I’d be capable of going back to this form. It’s a killer. For dverse, a lai.


This first day of May

I watch squirrels play

and chase—

aerial display—

round their hidden drey

pure grace.

No leaf-tremour stray

dancing wild betrays

its place.


Of trees’ sweet array

The sun of midday

makes lace

Yet with cold clouds grey

gallops spring’s decay


the dried blooms winds flay

with sweet July hay


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

31 thoughts on “May lai”

    1. Thank you, Bjorn. It was forced though. I’m not getting on with this form, too many rhymes in too short a space, and I don’t think it works with half rhymes. They have to be true rhymes or it sounds wrong. They are the point of the exercise after all. I’ll be pleased when we start on another form!

      1. It doesn’t sound forced, but I think it’s like you said of one that I did–that the lines just seem too short, and that the poem would work better in another form. I’m not a particular fan of this form either. 🙂

  1. This is seemless Jane..i love the flow of words as if it glides smoothly..but i must agree with you..this form is a “killer”..i’ve read it onnce with Gina and ahhhj i am still trying..until now..

    1. Thank you! It’s a real headache and personally I don’t think the result is worth it. It’s like a puzzle that I just pick away at until it comes out. There’s a sense of achievement in doing it, but whether it’s poetry, I have my doubts.

  2. Having a read a few lai’s I find the two syllable sentence is a kind of punctuation – or statement about the previous two five-syllable lines. Thought this well done and loved the scene it described.

      1. Thanks i’ve completed it now and posted but not sure it has done justice to my experience. But the challenge gave me a deadline to get on with it as otherwise think would not have bothered with this one!

      2. One of the things I don’t like about this form is that it reduces everything to a stop start feeling, totally focused on the rhyme and not the content. I know what you mean about taking it on as a challenge.

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