Syair (Jawi: شعير) is a form of traditional Malay poetry that made up of four-line stanzas or quatrains. The syair can be a narrative poem, a didactic poem, or a poem used to convey ideas on religion or philosophy, or even one to describe historical event.
In contrast to pantun form, the syair conveys a continuous idea from one stanza to the next, maintains a unity of idea from the first line to the last line in each stanza, and each stanza is rhymed a-a-a-a-a.
The word Syair is derived from the Arabic word shi’r, a term that covers all genres of Arabic/Islamic poetry. However, the Malay form which goes by the name syair is somewhat different and not modelled on Arabic poetry or on any of the genres of Arabo-Persian poetry.
The earliest known record of syair was from the work of Hamzah Fansuri, a famous Malay poet in the 17th century.