Syair

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Syair (Jawi: شعير) is a form of traditional Malay poetry that is made up of four-line stanzas or quatrains. The syair can be a narrative poem, a didactic poem, a poem used to convey ideas on religion or philosophy, or even one to describe a historical event.

In contrast to pantun form, the syair conveys a continuous idea from one stanza to the next, maintains a unity of ideas from the first line to the last line in each stanza, and each stanza is rhymed a-a-a-a-a. Syair is sung in set rhythms that differ from syair to syair. The recitation of syair can be accompanied by music or not.

Etymology[edit]

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 modeled on Arabic poetry or on any of the genres of Perso-Arab poetry.[1]

History[edit]

The earliest known record of syair is from the work of Hamzah Fansuri, a famous Malay poet in the 17th century.

The most famous syair is a 1847 poem by Raja Pengiran Indera Mahkota Shahbandar: Syair Rakis. It is considered to be the passage to modern Malaysian literature and mourns the loss of Labuan.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stefan Sperl & C. Shackle (1996). Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa: Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings (Studies in Arabic Literature). Brill. p. 363. ISBN 978-90-04-10452-5.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Syairs at Wikimedia Commons