Chapter 11: Lao Rhymes



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Click on the flower to hear the following song.

Presenting Flowers to Teachers

ມາລາດວງດອກໄມ້ ໆ maalaa duang dok mai (2) Garlands and flowers (2)
ເອາຕັ້ງໄວ້ເພື່ອບູຊາ oa tang wai phua buuchaa We place for worship.
ຂອບູຊາຄຸນພະພຸດ ໆ kho buuchaa khun pha phut (2) We bow to Buddha (2)
ຜູ້ໄດ້ຕັດສະລູ້ມາ phuu dai tatsaluu maa Who attained enlightenment.
ຂອບູຊາຄຸນພະທຳ ໆ kho buuchaa khun pha tham (2) We bow to Dhamma (2)
ທີ່ໄດ້ນຳສັ່ງສອນມາ phuu dai nam sang son maa Which brings contentment.
ຂອບູຊາຄຸນພະສງ ໆ kho buuchaa khun pha song (2) We bow to Sanga (2)
ຜູ້ໄດ້ຊງພະວິນັຍ phuu dai song pha winai Who maintain disciplines.
ດ້ວຍຈິຕອັນນອບນ້ອມ ໆ duay chit an nobnom (2) We bow with humble mind, (2)
ພ້ອມດ້ວຍກາຍແລະວາຈາ phom duay kai lae waachaa Our refined actions and speech.1

The above verse is a waikhuu 2 chant to pay respect to all teachers--religious teachers, parents, teachers in schools, and others who teach us some things in our lives respectively.  This is part of the chant which begins with paying respect to religious teachers.  After this part, we may pay homage to parents, teachers in and out of schools, and others.  It is believed that by being humble, paying respect to teachers, one is likely to succeed in everything one attempts to do.  It is usually chanted before one begins to undertake any difficult task.  The chant has been passed on from generation to generation; thus it is a type of folk songs.  The form of poetry is kon hok; there are six syllables in one line and there are specific internal rhyming positions.   Songs and poetry are usually interrelated.  A specific versification is used for a specific type of songs.  Both topics cover a lot of materials; thus this chapter will present various types of versification only.  The subsequent chapter will deal specifically with folksongs.

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Lao Rhymes

There are four major forms of rhymes in Lao poetic conventions: kaap (ກາບ), kon (ກອນ), khong (ໂຄງ), and saan (ສານ). 3

    Kaap (ກາບ) is a form of Lao rhymes used to read aloud; most of kaap poems are composed to be sung on various occasions for example, the Boat-racing Festival, the Rocket Festival, and so on.  When this type of poetry is sung it can be called, soeng (ເຊິ້ງ).  There is no restriction on the length of a poem.  The rhyming pattern is simple--the last syllable of the first line rhymes with the second or third in the next.


ຫລົວແລະຟືນ     ຢ່າເອົາຮອງນັ່ງ luo lae pheun      yaa ao hong nang      
ຢ່າໄດ້ນັ່ງສູງ sua nang tam      yaa dai nang suung    
ເຊື້ອລຸງຕາ      ໃຫ້ຢຳປານແກ້ວ sua lung taa hai yam paan kaew
ປູ່ສັ່ງແລ້ວ            ຫລານຫລ້າຈື່ອຈຳ   puu sang laew laan laa chue cham
Do not sit on firewood of all kinds and do not sit higher than the elders.
Pay full respect to your precious elders; remember this teaching from Grandpa.

In the above stanza, there are four lines.  The rhyming syllables are nang ( (ນັ່ງ) in the first line and the second syllable, nang (ນັ່ງ), in the second line. The syllable suung (ສູງ) in the second line rhymes with the syllable lung (ລຸງ) in the third line. Finally, the syllable kaew (ແກ້ວ), in the third line rhymes with the third syllable laew ( (ແລ້ວ) in the forth line.

The diagram of kaap

The circle represents a syllable and the lines shows the rhyming of the syllables between the lines.

Copy of kaapdiagram.gif (3582 bytes)


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Kon (ກອນ) is a form of Lao rhyme with specific rhyming pattern, numbers of syllables in a line, and internal and external alliterations and rhymes, and tone-positions.  There are seven syllables in the middle plus two additive words before and after the seven syllables in the middle.  There are four types of kon (ກອນ): kon aan (ກອນອ່ານ), kon phayaa (ກອນຜະຫຍາ), kon lam (ກອນລຳ), and kon hai (ກອນຮ່າຍ) or kon thet (ກອນເທດ)Each type is used for a specific purpose.

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       Kon aan (ກອນອ່ານ) is usually used to compose long elaborate folk epics such as Thao Suriwong, Thao Sangsinxai, Thao Kalaked, Khun Theung, The Story of Prince Vessantara, Thao Cheuang and etc.  These epics are to be read aloud in social gatherings such as at funeral wakes, at child birth when a mother remain by the fire, house-warming ceremony, and so on.  


The following excerpt is from the Story of Prince Vessantara, "The Royal Children."

ເມື່ອນັ້ນ ພາມະໂນເຖ້າ ຫິນະຊົນໃຈບາບ  
ມັນໄດ້ ສອງອ່ອນນ້ອຍ ຫົວຍຸ້ມອຸ່ນໃຈ  
ອັນວ່າ ສອງກະສັດນ້ອຍ ກຸມມານນ້ອງພີ່  
  ຫນີບໍ່ໄດ້ ລັງລ້າວບໍ່ຢາກໄປ  
ພາມກໍ ຫາເຄືອໄມ້ ພັນທະນັງຄຽນຜູກ  
ມັດແຂນ ລູກພະເຈ້າ ສອງນ້ອຍຫນໍ່ອິນ  
  ເຄືອເຂົານັ້ນ ສອງຄົນຂັນໂຮບ  
ມັນກໍ ຫັກຟົດໄມ້ ຕີຂ້ຽນແກ່ດຶງ ແທ້ແລ້ວ
mue  nan phaam ma no thao hi na son chai baap  
man dai song on noi hua yum un chai  
an waa song ka sat noi kum maan nong phii  
  nii bo dai lang laow boyaak pai  
phaam ko haa khueu mai phan tha nang khian phuuk  
mat khaen luuk pha chao song noi no in  
  khue khao nan song khon khan hop  
man ko hak fot mai tii khian kae dueng tae laew
So then that old Brahmin who is a sinful man,  
Having secured the two royal children, he smiled and grinned happily.  
Now these two royal children, a brother and sister,  
  could not escape; they pulled back, not wanting to go.  
The Brahmin used a vine to tie up the arms  
Of the children, who were of royal descendants of Indra.  
  After tying up the two children so tightly,  
The evil Brahman broke a twig to whip the children, pulling and dragging them along.

From the above lines, one can notice some rhyming and alliteration patterns as well as the tone restrictions.

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Alliterations and assonances:  The corresponding colors of the consonants illustrate alliterative sounds and assonances. 

ເມື່ອນັ້ນ ພາມະໂນເຖ້າ ຫິນະຊົນໃຈບາບ
ມັນໄດ້ ສອງອ່ອນນ້ອຍ ຫົວຍຸ້ມອຸ່ນໃຈ
mue   nan phaam ma no thao hi na son chai baap
man dai song on noi hua yum un chai

For tone restrictions, composer may use any tones, but two tonal sounds--ek (low falling) and tho (high falling) are required.

The Ek Verse must have three syllables with ek tonal soundsand at least two tho tonal sounds

The Tho Verse must have at least three syllables with tho tonal sounds and at least three syllables with ek tonal sounds.

The above verse can be either ek or tho verse; it has three syllables with ek sounds--ບາບ (baap), ອ່ອນ (on), ອຸ່ນ (un) and at least three syllables with tho sounds--ນັ້ນ (nan),  ເຖ້າ (thao), ໄດ້ (dai), ນ້ອຍ (noi), and  ຍຸ້ມ (yum).

The second stanza can be either ek or tho verse as well, as it follows the same rules:  at least three tho tonal sounds--ນ້ອຍ (noi),  ນ້ອງ (nong), ໄດ້ (dai), ລ້າວ (laow) and at least three ek tonal sounds--ວ່າ (waa),  ສັດ (sat),   ພີ່(phii), ໍ່ (bo), and  ຢາກ (yaak).

ອັນວ່າ ສອງກະສັດນ້ອຍ ກຸມມານນ້ອງພີ່
  ຫນີບໍ່ໄດ ລັງລ້າວບໍ່ຢາກໄປ
an waa song ka sat noi kum maan nong phii
  nii bo dai lang laow boyaak pai


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           Kon phayaa (ກອນຜະຫຍາ) is a short verse of two to four lines with tonal restrictions similar to kon aan above. Kon phayaa is used in three ways: first, it is used with proverbs called kon phayaa phaasit (ກອນຜະຫຍາພາສິດ); second, it is used to tell stories in brief called nithaan phayaa (ນິທານຜະຫຍາ); and third, it is used for courting poetry called phayaa to yae la waang bao sao (ຜະຫຍາຕໍ່ແຍລະຫວ່າງບ່າວສາວ).

ExamplesKon phayaa proverbs of one, two and four lines.

ນ້ຳຂຸ່ນແພ້ນ້ຳໃສ ໃຈດີແພ້ໃຈຮ້າຍ
nam khun phae nam sai chai dii phae chai haai
Clear water is better than muddy water Good heart is better than angry heart.


ແມ່ນວ່າໄດ້ຂີ່ຊ້າງ ກັ້ງຮ່ມເປ໊ນພະຍາ
ຢ່າໄດ້ລືມເສນາ ຜູ້ແຫ່ນຳຕີນຊ້າງ
maen waa dai khii saang khang hom pen phayaa
yaa dai luem senaa phuu hae nam tiin saang
When you ride on an elephant and become a king, sitting under a royal umbrella,
Please do not forget this subject who walks behind, following the elephant's feet.


ຍາມເມື່ອຊນລະທານ້ຳ ໄຫລນອງຖ້ວມທົ່ງ
ມົດບໍ່ມີບ່ອນຊົ້ນ ປາກັ້ງອະເຫົ່ຍຫັວ
ຍາມເມື່ອເດຶອນສາມສ້ຽງ ຊນລະທາທີເຂິນຂາດ
ມົດງ່າມມັນກະເຈາະກະຈອກເວົ້າ ຫົວລໍ້ຕໍ່ປາ
yaam mue son la thaa nam lai nong thuam thong
mod bo mii bon son paa kang a hoey hua
yamm mue duen saam siang son la thaa thii khoen khaad
mod ngaam man ka cho ka chok wao hua lo tho paa
When the water in the river overflows to flood the fields,
The ants find no place to hide, but the fish laugh with delight.
After the end of the third lunar month, the water in the river receeds and dry
The ants have chances to mock and scoff at the fish.

Example of nithaan phayaa (ນິທານຜະຫຍາ) from The Story of Vessantara Prince, "Nang Mittatta."4

ນາງມິດຕະດາອຍ່າເວົ້າ ມັນສິເກ່າປະເພນີ
ເປັນສະຕີບໍ່ມີຜົວ ຊັ່ວຊາມຖຶງເຖ້າ
ໄຜສິຫາມາລ້ຽງ ປູປາຜ້ານຸ່ງ
ເຂົ້າສິຫຸງໃສ່ທ້ອງ ນາງສິຮ້ອງໃສ່ໄຜ
ຍາມເຮັດໄຮ່ ໄຜສິເປັນເພື່ອນຈາ
ຍາມເຮັດນາ ໄຜສິເປັນເພື່ອນເວ້າ
ຍາມຂາດເຂ້າ ໄຜສິຕຶດອ່ານແລງງາຍ
ຄືອດັງກາຍກອງໂທນ ຂາດຫນັງຍາມເຊ້າ
naang mittatta yaa wao man si kao pa phe nii
pen satii bo mii phua sua saam thueng thao
phai si haa maa liang puu paa phaa nung
khao si hung sai thong naang si hong sai phai
yaam hed hai phai si pen phuen chaa
yaam hed naa phai si pen phuen wao
yaam khaat khao phai si khued aan laeng ngai
khue dang khai khong thon khaad nang yaam sao
Mittatta, you must not say such a thing, as it will ruin our ancient custom.
A woman without a husband is considered wickedly foolish..
Who will provide for you, food like fish and crabs, and clothes.
Even the rice to cook for yourself, from whom would you ask?
When farming season arrives, with whom will you talk?
When rice planting season arrives, with whom will you speak?
When you have no rice to eat, who would think of dinner and lunch?
This is like a single drum without the hide in the morning.

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Example of phayaa to yae la waang bao sao (ຜະຫຍາຕໍ່ແຍລະຫວ່າງບ່າວສາວ).

A man may say the following to court a woman:

ເຈ້າຜູ້ໂພສີສ້ອຍ ໃບດົກຮ່ມໃຫຽ່
ພີ່ຂອເຂ້າຢູ່ໃກ້ ພອໄດ້ຊົ່ນຮົ່ມໃບ
chao phuu pho sii soi bai dok hom yai
phii kho khao yuu kai pho dai son hom bai
Oh, my dear precious Bodhi tree  with dense leaves and large shade,
May I come to stay nearby to hide under your leafy shade?

A woman may reply with the following lines:

ນ້ອງນີ້ບາລະມີນ້ອຍ ສມພານນິດຫນ່ອຍ
ໃບບໍ່ຫນາຮ່ມບໍ່ກວ້າງ ເຊົາຊົ່ນຍ້ານບໍ່ເຍັນພີ່ເອີຍ
nong nii baa la mii noi som phaan nid noi
bai bo naa hom bo kwaang sao son yaan bo yen phii oey
I have such modest merit and little virtue;
My leaves are not dense and wide; to hide under my tree may not be cool enough.

The man may respond to the woman with the following verse:

ພີ່ໄດ້ຍິນວ່ານ້ອງ ເປັນຜູ້ໃຈບຸນ
ເປັນຜູ້ສມພານມີ ຮ່ມເຍັນໃບກວ້າງ
phii dai yin waa nong pen phuu chai bun
pen phuu som phaan mii hom yen bai kwaang
I have heard that you are generous and kind;
With merit and virtue you have wide leafy cool shade.

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Then the woman may reply to the man's comment below:

ນ້ອງນີ້ວາດສະຫນານ້ອຍ  ສມພານຍດຕ່ຳ
ບໍ່ມີສມພີ່ເຈົ້າບຸນກວ້າງ ຍດສູງດອກຕີ້
nong nii waadsanaa noi som phaan yot tam
bo mii som phii chao bun kwaang yot suung dok tii
Having unworthy merit with low rank,
I do not deserve you who is both meritorious and high-born.

Then, the man may follow suit to end the exchange:

ແມ່ນສິນ້ອຍຕ່ຳຕ້ຽຍ ພີ່ສີຕ່ອຍຄານນຳ
ແມ່ນສິດຳຄືຫມີ ຫລືວ່າພີຕືໄຫ
ພີ່ບໍ່ໄລລືມນ້ອງ ດອກຫນາ
maen si noi tam tia phii si khoi khaan nam
maen si dam khue mii lue waa phii khue hai
phii bo lai luem nong dok naa
Even if you are small or low, I will go bowing and crawling behind you.
Even if you are dark like a bear, or heavy like a jar,
I will never forget you truly.

With that the girl's heart is won, so she says:

ເອາແຕ່ບຸບເພສ້າງ ປາງຫລັງຊາດກ່ອນ
ບຸນເຄຍໄດ້ອຍູ່ຊ້ອນ ນາງນ້ອງແມ່ນບໍ່ຂີນ ໄດ້ແຫລ່ວ
ao tae bup phe saang paang lang saat kon
bun khoey dai yuu son naang nong maen bo khiin  dai laew.
Well then, let's depend on our merit which we had made together in the past life.
If we had been soulmates in the past life, I will never resist your proposal, at all.


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           Kon lam (ກອນລຳ) is composed to be sung with khaen (Lao wind musical instrument) accompaniment.  This kind of folk singing is called lam (ລຳ) and the singer of this kind of songs is called mo lam (ຫມອລຳ).    The verse for lam is similar to kaap or kon aan.  There is no restriction on the number of line in a verse, but each verse must rhyme with the next internally and externally.


  ມາເຫັນນ້ອງອິນຕອງ ແຕ້ມແຕ່ງ
ແຕ່ພີ່ ແຍງຢາກເວ້ານຳເຈົ້າ ແຕ່ໂດນ
ແຕ່ພີ່ ຄຸບຄວ່າຄົ້ນຫມົ່ນເຫລົ່າ ກໍເລາ
ແຕ່ພີ່ ປອງນຳເອັາໄດ້ສີ່ປີ ປາຍເຂົ້າ
ຈີ່ງໄດ້ ມາເຫັນເຈົ້າແພກະເຈາ ບິ້ງບ່ຽງ
  ມາເຫັນເນື້ອກ່ຳກ້ຽງຢາກຂໍເວ້າ ບ່ອນຈິງ
ຄັນແມ່ນ ບໍ່ໄດ້ກິ້ງຢາກຂໍຝາກ ຄວາມຮັກ
ຄັນບໍ່ ຈນໃຈຈັກຮັກກັນ ພັນກ້ຽວ
  maa hen nong in tong taem taeng
tae phii yaeng yaak wao nam chao tae don
tae phii khub khwaa khon mon lao ko lao
tae phii pong nam ao dai sii pii paai khao
ching dai maa hen chao phae ka chao bing biang
  maa hen nuea kham khiang yaak kho wao bon ching
khan maen bo dai king yaak kho faak khwaam huk
khan bo chon chai chak huk kan phan kiew
Seeing you, who is as beautiful as if being painted by Indra,
I only took glimpses at you, wishing to talk to you long ago.
But I have been lost in pampas grass bushes, searching for you.
It has been more than four years that I have tried to catch your attention.
Today, I have seen you wearing the delicate shoulder cloth;
Seeing your perfectly beautiful bare shoulder, I desire to talk to you.
If I can't be by your side, I would like to give you my love.
But if you return my love, we shall enjoy embracing one another.

The above singing verse is considered musical for it contains internal rhymes within lines and between lines, alliterations, and assonances.   The translation may not do justice to the original as I tried to capture mostly its meaning.


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    Kon hai or kon thet (ກອນຮ່າຍ ຫລື ກອນເທດ) is a type of rhyme that is used to compose chants for Buddhist monks and for mo phon (master of ceremony in Brahman rituals) in blessing ceremonies.  They rhyming pattern for kon hai is simple.   The last word of the first line rhymes with any word in the next line.

Example of kon hai or kon thet--an excerpt from a bai sii suu khwan ceremony.


ສີ ໆ ສິດທິພະພອນ sii sii sit thi pha phon Oh, all great blessings are here:
ບໍວອນອະດິເລກ bo won a-di-lek Plenty of all excellent things,
ອະເນກເຕຊາ a-nek te saa Great power,
ໄຊຍະມັງຄະລາ sai ya man kha laa Auspicious time,
ມະຫາສິລິມັງຄະເລດ ma haa si li mang kha led Great auspicious time,
ສາດຕະເພດພ້ອມອາຄົມ saad ta phet phom aa khom All sciences and magic. This is
ຂຸນບູລົມປຸນແຕ່ງແລ້ວ khun bulom pun taeng laew The day Lord Bulom assigned
ໃຫ້ລູກແກ້ວອອກກິນເມືອງ hai luuk kaew ok kin muang His royal children to rule cities
ສິດທິເຮືອງທະລົງແທ່ນ sit thi huang tha long thaen Of flourishing, powerful thrones.
ມື້ນີ້ແມ່ນມື້ມະຫາຄຸນ . . . mue nii maen mue ma haa khun Today is the greatest day . . .


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    Khong (ໂຄງ) is a type of Lao rhyme which is interconnected between the lines as human ribs connected to the human frame or parts of the house that are connected to the main structure of the house.  There are many types of khong (ໂຄງ) and the name of each type depends on the number of syllables in a line, beginning with khong song (ໂຄງສອງ--two words) to khong chet (ໂຄງເຈັດ--seven words).  Internal rhyming patterns for the two and three word poems are the same; the last syllable in the first line rhymes with the first syllable in the next line.  As for the four, five, six, and seven word poems, they are like those of kaap, the first type of poetry mentioned earlier.

Examples of khong song  (the two word poems)

1. Fishing rod's rhyme begins with the same word in the first two lines without rhyming, but all four words alliterate.  The last word in the second line rhymes with the first word of the third line and so on.  This rhyme tells of the full cycle of fishing from herding fish and crabs to cooking.

ປ້ອງປູ pong puu herd crabs
ປ້ອງປາ pong paa herd fish
ມາເປ່າ maa pao come blow or come without bringing anything
ເກົ້າຂ້ອງ khao khong nine fish traps
ກ່ອງຊາມ kong saam a bowl brim full
ຫນາມເລື້ອຍ naam lueay thorny vines
ເມື່ອຍຄັວ mueay khua tired kitchen

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2.   Xiangmiang's two word rhyme (a tricky poem):  Each word in this poem is relating to an animal in one way or another.  It could be an action such as ngok ngok is a slow, large, and heavy movement.   So it is an elephant.

ໂງກງົກ ngok ngok slow, large, and heavy movement (an elephant)
ຊົກກວຽນ sok kwian drag carts (a cow)
ຫຽນແອ່ນ hian aen soar and swoop (a garuda)
ແບ່ນໂຕ baen to stretch body (a cat)
ໂສພາບ so phaab   ?  (a lion)
ມາບຟານ maab  faan          gloat at deer (a tiger)
ຫານນ້ຳ haan nam good at water (otters)
ຊ້ຳໂກນ sam kon dig holes on the ground (a pig)

The diagrams of the above rhyme:

khongsong_1.gif (3853 bytes)

khongsong.gif (4318 bytes)

Example of khong saam (three word rhyme)

ສີຊົມຊື່ນ sii som suen Oh, bliss,
ຮື່ນເມືອງພົມ huen muang phom This is Brahma World,
ສົມສະຖານ som sa thaan A suitable place
ຜ່ານພິພົບ phaan phi phob For a great lord,
ນົບພະເຈົ້າ nop pha chao whom we pay homage.
ເຮົາເຮັດບຸນ hao hed bun Making merit
ອຸ່ນຈິດໃຈ un chit chai We feel heart-warming.

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Diagram of the khong saam above

folkso5.jpg (8511 bytes)

Example of khong sii (the three word rhyme) and the diagram of the poem.

ນະໂມນະມາ na mo na maa May I humbly pay homage,
ວັນທາກາບໄຫວ້ wan thaa kaap wai Prostrating and raising my joined hands,
ຍອດໄທ້ນາໂຖ yod thai naa tho to the greatest enlightened one
ພິນໂຍປາງກ່ອນ pin yo paang kon to your meritorious accumulated in the past
ເຫັນບ່ອນນິພານ hen bon ni phaan That will shed light of nirvana on me.

Diagram of the above rhyme

folkso3.jpg (7733 bytes)


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Example of khong haa (the five word rhyme) uses the same rhyming pattern as kaap.   A distinguish feature of khong haa is that a poem can be read in three ways:  first it can be read line by line from line one to the last line; second it can be read by odd lines only; and finally it can be read by even lines only.   This pattern of reading of poetry with the five word poem is call khong haa dan.

1.  The poem can be read from line one to four.

ນ້ຳຍ້ອຍຢາດ ຕີນຜາ nam yoi yaad tiin phaa
ເຊັນ ເຊັນ ໄຫລ ຜ່າໄດ້ sen sen lai pha dai
ກົບຂຽດອາ ອຶ່ງຮ້ອງ kob khiad aa ueng hong
ທ້າວທ່ານໄຫ້ ຟັງສຽງ thao thaan hai fang siang
Water drips and drops to the foot of the mountain;
Flowing, flowing, the water flows through (rocks).
Frogs, toads and bull frogs cry,
Which sound like the dignified lord weeping.

2.  The above poem can be read only odd lines.

ນ້ຳຍ້ອຍຢາດ ຕີນຜາ nam yoi yaad tiin phaa
ກົບຂຽດອາ ອຶ່ງຮ້ອງ kob khiad aa ueng hong
Water drips and drops to the foot of the mountain;
Frogs, toads and bull frogs cry.

3.  The above can also be read only even lines.

ເຊັນ ເຊັນ ໄຫລ ຜ່າໄດ້ sen sen lai pha dai
ທ້າວທ່ານໄຫ້ ຟັງສຽງ kob khiad aa ueng hong
Flowing, flowing, the water flows through (rocks),
Which sound like the dignified lord weeping.

Example of khong hok (the six word poem) uses the same rhyming pattern as kaap.

ທິດ ເປັນຮາກເຫງົ້າ ຫັວດີ thid pen haak ngao hua dii
ຈັນ ເຄືອຍາວຮີ ບໍ່ມັ່ວ chan khue yaaw hii bo mua
ຄານ ເປັນພັ່ວຫມາກ ດກຫນາ khaan pen phua maak dok naa
ພຸດ ມີມາລາ ບໍ່ເສ້າ phud mii maa laa bo sao
ພະຫັດ ຫມາກແຕ່ເຄົ້າ ເຖິງປາຍ phahad maak tae khao thoeng pai
ສຸກ ເປືອກຫນາຫລາຍ ສຸດຍິ່ງ suk puek naa lai sud ying
ເສາ ມີກ້ານກິ່ງ ລຳງາມ sao mii kaan king lam ngaam
Sunday one may plant root vegetables to yield good crops;
Monday one may plant vine vegetables to be sure;
Tuesday one may plant berries to be fruitful;
Wednesday one may plant flowers to have beautiful crops;
Thursday one may plant fruit trees to be full of fruits;
Friday one may plant trees or vegetables to have their barks;
Saturday one may plant any shady trees to have good twigs, branches, and trunks.


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Example of khong chet (seven word rhyme) uses the same rhyming pattern as kaap but with seven words in a line.

ມາລາກອງກິ່ງກ້ານ ງາມດູ maa laa kong king kaan ngaam duu
ດອງຫນື່ງແລຫລິງດູ ຊື່ນຊ້ອຍ duang nueng lae ling duu suen soi
ຫອມຮົດທັ່ວຊມພູ ຖະນັດຍິ່ງ ເຮີຍມເອີຍ hom hod thua somphuu tha nad ying hiam oey
ຂອບພຣະຄຸນເຈົ້າຂ້ອຍ ລື່ນລ້ຳສະເນໂຫ khob phra khun chao khoi luen lam sa ne ho.
Abundant flowers on twigs and branches looked so beautiful;
But that one flower that I had seen looked so delightful.
It's fragrance permeated the entire human world called chomphuu, my dear.
I feel grateful to my Lord for this which is more splendid than physical desires.

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  The last type of Lao rhyme is called saan (lko) which a type of rhymes or songs composed to send messages.  Saan can be in poetic prose or in verse.  Please see chapter 10 on Epistolary Chronicles for more examples.

chueng dai khian saan soi paisanii nam hod
wang chak thaam khao kho kho son huam phathai
po aa-lai thueng nong saen lathom thon sok
maen chak tai faak faa bo laa khaang haang naang
So I wrote a letter in verse to send to you by mail,
Wishing to ask if you would allow me to lie by your side, sharing our hearts.
Longing to see you, my darling, I truly suffer;
Even if I die and am sent to heaven, I would not let you go from my side.

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Notes to Chapter 11: Lao Folksongs and Poetry

     1.  Adapted from a Thai/Lao folk song chanted to pay respect to all teachers--religious teachers, parents, teachers in schools, and others who teach us some things in our lives.  This is part of the chant which begins with paying respect to religious teachers.  Then, we may pay homage to parents, teachers in and out schools, and others.  It is believed that by being humble, paying respect to teachers, one is likely to succeed in everything one attempts to do.  It is usually chanted before one begins to do any difficult tasks.

     2.  Wai khuu (wai, to bow with joined hands in prayer gesture, is a gesture of respect; khuu means teachers) is a ceremony where one pays homage to all teachers mentioned in note number 1.   In paying respect to teachers, one gains confidence and blessings from teachers.

     3.  Unless otherwise noted, contents and examples of Lao poetry presented in this chapter are adapted from two books-- Baebhian phasa lae wannakhadee san matthayom pithi song (A Textbook on Lao Language and Literature for the Eighth Grade Students), Vientiane: The National Research Institute of Science and Education, Ministry of Education, 1997, pp. 72-85; and Maha Sila Viravongs, "Wannakhadii Lao--paphet khong wannakhadii (Lao Literature--Types of Literature)," in Payot khong wannakhadee (The Benefits of Literature), Vientiane: Phainam Kanphim, 1996,  pp. 1-22.

    4. Grandma Haa Wutthirak, age 70 years old from Ban Sikaew in Roi-et, Thailand.

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