The lai is a lyric poem which flourished in medieval France. It is composed of three-line units containing 5, 5, 2 syllables respectively. Lines 1 and 2 rhyme with each other and with similarly placed lines in the next unit, while line 3 rhymes only with the short line in the next unit. Stanzas may be of any length provided that each unit within it follows the rhyme scheme.

A Lai

In writing this verse,
The wording is terse,
And yet
I would be averse
To shun it, or worse,

Unit of three lines
Syllables assigns
To each...
Five, five, two designs
In that way aligns
Its reach.

Classical Lais

A Saturnalian Lai

December is here...
Saturn's feast draws near,
And so
Let's be of good cheer
At this time of year.
Cry "Io!"

Masters trade places;
Slaves' happy faces
Bear grins.
Dice box rolls aces;
Children run races.
Who wins?

Lord of Misrule reigns,
Source of fun and games
For all.
Candles flicker flames;
Greenery soon frames
The hall.

Gifts are sent to friends,
Each of whom attends
Merriment suspends;
Season wanes and ends
At last.

Aelia: A Lai

Your teeth numbered four,
Aelia, no more.
There'll be no encore,
So cough as before...

It's true that your plight
Is over all right,
At last.
Those coughs in the night
Expelled them with might...
And fast!

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