The following example of a tristich line is from “Gunfight in Niśṭawn,” a poem which responds to a shootout between of a group of Mahra and members of the Yemeni security forces that took place in 1997:
ʾāśer šeh drīyet lā // be-rḥōyeb ḏ-ġarbēt // we-ttəḥawdī ḏ-mesḳōt
I have a friend who doesn’t know // living in the western towns // at the edges of Masḳōt
The tristich line appears to be unique to Mahri poetics and is not found in Arabic poetics. Mahri poetry utilizing tristichs should not be confused with Arabic trimeter rajaz. For one, the individual stichs of a Mahri tristich poem are of a different order of quantity: four heavy syllables plus three intervening light syllables: | – ˇ – ˇ – ˇ – | (x3). Secondly, the individual stichs of a Mahri tristich poem possess a grammatical and conceptual independence not found in a foot of Arabic trimeter rajaz. This distinction is clearly expressed in collective chants of tristich verse where a breathing pause is audible in between each stich.
Poems composed of tristich lines tend to be viewed as the most socially and aesthetically potent forms of Mahri poetry. The most prestigious genre of Mahri poetics, the ʾōdī we-krēm krēm tribal historical ode, is almost always composed in tristich lines. Amateurish poets generally compose poetry in hemistichs, leaving tristich poems to those Mahra who are most comfortable with the more arduous constraints of poetic line composed of three isometric components.