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Sunday Scribblings #179: The Triad: Great Things Come in Threes

March is Irish American Heritage Month and today is the 3rd of the third month of the year. With that in mind, I bring you the Triad poem. Plus, there is something about things that come in threes, right?

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Notepad and a pen over it with a cup of coffee next to it. words read Sunday Scribblings, and this is for Sunday Scribblings #179: The Triad: Great Things Come in Threes

Poetic Sundays: The Triad: Great Things Come in Threes

The Triads of Ireland is a collection of approximately 256 Old Irish poems that offer advice and wise words, as well as humorous tips. These short poems are thematic and always in a set of three, with topics ranging from philosophy and law to nature and psychology.

Three is pretty significant in early Irish literature and mythology, and we see many instances of that. One example is the three-leaved shamrock Saint Patrick used to teach about the Holy Trinity.

And come to think of it, there is the saying that good things come in threes. All around the world, we see the power of three in so many ways. From the Hindu trinity of gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva) to the concept of the father, son, and the holy ghost; from the three wishes granted by the Genie and the Three Musketeers to the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) and dimensions (length, width, and height); and so many more. (This requires a whole post in fact!)

So What is the Triad?

The Irish triad is a mostly prosaic (sometimes verse/poetic) form that originates from traditional Gaelic literature. It’s characterized by its triadic structure, where each verse consists of three parts or elements that are related thematically. These elements are often presented in a concise and rhythmic manner, making triad verses highly memorable and impactful.

There are different ways to write an Irish triad verse and we will look at it soon.

A couple of the numbered triads of the 256 Triads of Ireland as examples:

  • The three rivers of Ireland: the Shannon, the Boyne, the Bann.
  • Three rude ones of the world: a youngster mocking an old man, a healthy person mocking an invalid, a wise man mocking a fool.

Related Thoughts Also Come in Threes

  • This reminded me of the Tamil Thirukural.
  • Check out this book: The three best things : an illustrated selection of Irish triads
  • I found it very cool that the triads were used as mnemonics, for teaching morals, and more! Some of which might and will not apply in today’s world (especially the ones about how women should behave!) while others are timeless!

The Triad’s Characteristics

  • thematic: Triad verses typically consist of three elements or concepts that are related in some way. These elements may be juxtaposed for contrast, complementarity, or emphasis.
  • everything else up to the poet (meter, rhyme, rhythm, length). See tips for more information

Tips to Craft Your Triad

Different ways you could write it:

  • a couplet: with the theme in line one, and the related triad in line two
  • three lines, each containing one element of your chosen theme. Each line should be concise yet evocative
  • three mono-rhymed triplets, with each line having the same number of syllables. Here you could have a starting line with the theme or use the title as the theme
  • the three related items in any other way you choose. As a single line of words, as three triplets (each one for each triad item), as three couplets (or any other way you pick, and choose to rhyme or not), or anything else of your choice

Regarding meter and rhyme: While not required, you may choose to incorporate a consistent meter or rhyme scheme to add structure to your verse. Traditional Irish poetry often features a syllabic pattern or uses internal rhyme.

Utilize Alliteration and Assonance: Traditional Irish poetry often incorporates alliteration and assonance to create a musical quality. Try to use these techniques to enhance the lyrical flow of your verse.

My Attempts at the Triad Come in Threes Too!

One: Similar to Irish Triad examples mentioned earlier

A Triad Tapestry: Elements, Blemishes, Delights

Three elements that shape a poet’s art:
A dreamer’s gaze, a word-weaver’s part,
And a fervor filled heart.

Three things that mar a poem’s grace:
Worn expressions, clumsy rhyme’s embrace,
And lines forced into awkward space

Three delights for the reader’s view:
Truth’s melodies, crystal clarity too,
and elegance; a seamless brew.

~ Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

Two: A Triad as a couplet

In moments fleeting, sweet and worthwhile,
My kids, hummingbirds, and flowers make me smile.

~ Vidya @ LadyInReadWrites

Three: Third Triad Attempt

Here i am reusing parts of one of my previous poems so the attempt was in just doing that :-). You can find the original poem in its entirety here.

Family Portraits

Dream partner, vision sharer,
Collaborator, supporter,
Provider, strong shoulder,
Pain bearer, delighter!

Hug giver, strength pillar,
Calm bringer, peace keeper,
Trailblazer, spirit lifter,
Music maker, joy bringer!

Dream builder, pain soother,
Trouble maker, joy weaver!
Light bearer, heart healer,
Grin giver, sweet talker!

~Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

References, h/t, and Further Reading


On My Blog

My recent posts since and including my last Sunday Scribblings:

& at Home

Tornadoes and blizzards and rains around the state of California! Somehow, coincidentally, comes in threes too!


On My Blog & Homefront

More rains in the forecast.

This Week’s Celebrations

Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)

  • Literary birthdays this week of March include: James Ellroy, Julia Cameron, Khaled Hosseini on March 4th; Sarah J. Maas on the 5th of March; Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Gabriel García Márquez on March 6th; Andrea Levy and William Boyd on the 7th; Sahir Ludhianvi, John Angus McPhee, Kenneth Grahame, and Kenneth Douglas Stewart Anderson on the 8th; Shashi Tharoor, Rochelle Potkar, and Elizabeth Sewell on the 9th; Johanna Lindsey on the 10th
  • The 4th is National Grammar Day
  • March 8th is National Proofreading Day
  • Newspapers in Education WeekRead an E-Book Week, and Words Matter Week – the first full week in March 
  • It is also Return the Borrowed Books Week, so head to the library with books you have borrowed from there and forgotten about.
    • I wrote this about books for last years post this same week but it is true for this year too:
      • I actually have a couple I borrowed for the Cybils readathon and completely forgot about after I read them. Thankfully, they were auto-renewed (thanks, library!)
  • World Math Day is observed on March 8th annually (this started in 2007)

Foodie Celebrations

Other Celebrations

Multi-day events

  • This week of International Women’s Day (March 8th) celebrates Women of Aviation Worldwide WeekNo More Week and International Women’s Week 
  • And it is Celebrate Your Name Week with quirky name-based observations for each day of the week, including Namesake Day, Name Tag Day, Unique Names Day, Name Fun Facts Day, Learn What Your Name Means Day, Genealogy Day, and Middle Name Pride Day

Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings

So dear reader, you have reached the end of this Sunday Scribblings! As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this post. And do let me know if you plan to celebrate any of these mentioned celebrations this coming week/month? 

Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon

15 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #179: The Triad: Great Things Come in Threes

  1. Sunday the 3rd was just not my day. I woke up still kinda tired and I went to work. Within 10-15 min, I ended up falling (tripped over something in walkway) and scraping up my arm pretty badly. Not bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER or Dr. but I did have to run to the grocery store for some bandages. I wrapped my arm up and kept working. I was off today so I just rested up. My arm is still a bit sore, it’s bruised in a few spots. I’m just thankful it wasn’t worse than it was.

  2. Reading about the Triads of Ireland opened my eyes to a new dimension of poetic expression and cultural wisdom. It’s fascinating to see how these ancient poems encapsulate life’s complexities in sets of three, offering insights that are still relevant today!

  3. What a delightful exploration of the power of threes, especially fitting for Irish American Heritage Month and the third day of the third month! Your incorporation of the Triad poem form and its significance in Gaelic literature adds depth to the discussion. I particularly enjoyed your Triad attempts, each one beautifully crafted with thematic elements and rhythmic flow.

    The way you seamlessly transition between discussing the Triad form, sharing your own poetry, and providing related celebrations and recommendations demonstrates your skillful storytelling and ability to engage readers. Your attention to detail and comprehensive coverage of literary, foodie, and other celebrations make this post both informative and enjoyable to read.

    Thank you for sharing your Sunday Scribblings and providing such rich content for your readers to explore! 📝🍀

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