CONTENTS

Introduction

Awdl (odes)
Cywyddau (cywydd)
Englynion (englyns)

Awdl (odes)

Byr a thoddaid
Clogyrnach
Cyhydedd fer
Cyhydedd hir
Cyhydedd naw ban
Cyrch a chwta
Gwawdodyn
Gwawdodyn hir
Hir a thoddaid
Rhupunt
Tawddgyrch cadwynog
Toddaid

Cywyddau (cywydd)

Awdl gywydd
Cywydd deuair fyrion
Cywydd deuair hirion
Cywydd llosgyrnog

Englynion (englyns)

Englyn cyrch
Englyn lleddfbroest
Englyn milwr
Englyn penfyr
Englyn proest dalgron
Englyn proest gadwynog
Englyn unodl crwca
Englyn unodl union

Introduction


The Welsh and the Irish share a similar culture and just as the Irish had their "Tir na nOg" (the land of the ever young), so to the Welsh had their "Annwfn" (The land underground). Sharing the same heritage is it any wonder that Welsh poetry, like Irish is just as complex with reliance on sound structures, and rhyme not as important as repetition, alliteration and rhythm. However, unlike Irish poetry it is not cyclic and there is no need for the last line to end with the first syllable word or the complete line.

Welsh poetry has three main classes, and from these classes are derived 24 traditional forms.
The three classes are:

Awdl (odes)
Cywyddau (cywydd measures)
Englynion (englyns)


Awdl (Odes)


Although there are twelve Awdl forms, several of them were not commonly used and the only examples I have seen have been in reference works that mention them or give examples. It has been considered that the reason might lie with the move of the Welsh Knights into the English Courts and the loss of patronage to their poets. Welsh poets lost their incentive to teach their craft and in the end with the death the last professional poet, Grufydd Phylip of Ardudwy in 1666, the art was kept alive only by enthusiastic amateurs.

Byr a thoddaid
Clogynach
Cyhydedd fer
Cyhydedd hir
Cyhydedd naw ban
Cyrch a chwta
Gwawdodyn
Gwawdodyn hir
Hir a thoddaid
Rhupunt
Tawddgyrch cadwynog
Toddaid

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Cywyddau


There are four of these popular forms.

Awdl gywydd
Cywydd deuair fyrion (short-lined couplets)
Cywydd deuair hirion (long-lined couplets)
Cywydd llosgyrnog

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Englynion (englyns)


There are eight of these short (three or four line) forms which were used to praise (or to satirise) an important person.

Englyn cyrch (two rhyme englyn)
Englyn lleddfbroest (half rhymed englyn)
Englyn milwr (the soldiers englyn)
Englyn penfyr (short-ended englyn)
Englyn proest dalgron (half rhymed englyn)
Englyn proest gadwynog (half rhymed englyn)
Englyn unodl crwca (reversed one rhymed englyn)
Englyn unodl union (straight one rhymed englyn)

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Awdl (odes)


Byr a thoddaid: (bir a thod-deyed):

This form consists of any number of quatrain stanzas. Each stanza combines one couplet of eight syllable lines a. a. and one couplet where the first line has ten syllables and the second line has six syllables, This couplet is called a toddaid byr.

There is no set order for the couplets.

In the ten syllable line the main rhyme b. b. is found before the end of the line and the last syllable of that line links the six syllable line by alliteration, assonance or secondary rhyme. Here is the form layout for either variation.

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x b x x c.
x c x x x b

or

x x x x x x d x x e.
x e x x x d
x x x x x x x f
x x x x x x x f

Byr a Thoddaid

Seasons,

The change of seasons, bare to bloom,
I see pass swiftly from my room;
Fall makes a place for Winter days that come
To numb sun' last warm rays...

Gently now they kiss our faces
With the last of Autumn's paces.
Too suddenly they will be gone - then cold
Folds over us; frost's fun.

Today there is still time to bask
Beneath the hot sun's golden mask.
Last vestiges of Summer's final run,
They're gone at last, to die.

Nature will rejoice and treasure,
Days to come with sun and pleasure.
First snow will reign for many weeks, till Spring
Brings back the warmth man seeks.

Leny Roovers 12-10-02

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Clogyrnach: (clog-ir-nach):

It is a quantitative syllable stanza (32) and it usually has a six line stanza that combines one couplet of eight syllable lines a. a., one couplet of five syllable lines b. b., and the final two lines of three syllables.b. a.. The two three syllable lines may be written as a six syllable line if desired.

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x b
x x b
x x a

Clogyrnach

In Summer

Summer I love, stallions abroad,
Knights courageous before their lord;
The comber booming,
Apple tree blooming,
Shield shining, war-shouldered.

Longing, I went craving, alack-
The bowing of the slim hemlock,
In bright noon, dawns sleigh;
Fair frail form smooth white,
Her step light on the stalk.

Silent is the small deer's footfall,
Scarcely older than she is tall.
Comely beautiful
And bred bountiful,
Passion will heed her call.

But no vile word will pass her lips.
I pace, I plead-when shall we tryst?
When will you meet me?
Love drown me deeply-
Christ keep me! He knows best.

-Cynddelw Brydedd Mawr

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Cyhydedd fer: (cuh-hee-dedd ver):

A simple form consisting of eight syllable couplets. This form can be used as a series of couplet stanzas similar to the Ghazal, or as a cauda (tail) for one of other forms (see Toddaid).

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a

x x x x x x x b
x x x x x x x b

etc

Cyhydedd fer

A warrior wears a suit of white
Believing that he fights for right.

His leaders wear the colour black
Telling him what should be the track.

Politics and truth can never mix
They do all sorts of sordid tricks.

The politician survives
Often risking young men's lives.

Ryter Roethical

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Cyhydedd hir: (cuh-hee-dedd heer):

This form consists of an eight line stanza comprised of two quatrains. Each quatrain has three lines of five syllables and carry the same rhyme, b.b.b...c.c.c. d.d.d...e.e.e.... etc
The fourth line is of four syllables and carries the main rhyme A. B. etc

If desired each quatrain can be written as as a single 19 - syllable line. Each stanza would then revert back to a series of 19 - syllable couplets.

x x x x b
x x x x b
x x x x b
x x x A
x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x A

x x x x d
x x x x d
x x x x d
x x x B
x x x x e
x x x x e
x x x x e
x x x B

etc

Cyhydedd hir

Crystal Song

Crystal's call is strong,
Vibrant shards of song,
Piercing souls, prolong
The sweet torment.
Its fragile fingers,
In touch that lingers,
Compel the singers
Till they are spent.

Exhaustion's nearing,
the singer's fearing
enthrallment’s spearing.
Escape, prevent
Engulfing power,
resounding shower
on souls in flower:
Crystal's sharp rent.

Leny Roovers

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Cyhydedd naw ban: (cuh-hee-dedd naw ban):

A line of nine syllables. It must rhyme with at least one other line of equal length to form a couplet.

This rhyme can continue throughout the stanza or another couplet using another rhyme can be used provided that all lines are nine syllables long.

x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a

etc..or as an alternative

x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x b
x x x x x x x x b

etc

Cyhydedd naw ban

The paddocks are bare, covered by dust
The tools are idle and spotted with rust.
Where once lush forests covered this land
Rich dark soil has now turned to sand.
Too many winds, too long without rain
Blown to town and washed down the drain.
What we have sown it's now time to pay
The time is now the bills due today.

Ryter Roethical

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Cyrch a cywta

A stanza of eight, seven-syllable lines. The first six lines sharing the same rhyme. Lines seven and eight are similar to an Awdl gywydd couplet.

x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x b
x x b x x x a

#78

Gently tamp earth with your toe.
Cultivate it with a hoe.
When the sunlight starts to go
finish the long, straight, green row.
Bake an Irish Potato.
Eat it with butter and slow.
Eat heartily in the night
with no light but the fire's glow

Jan Haag 3-10-98


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Gwawdodyn

A stanza of four lines. Lines 1,2 and 4 are nine syllables long and share the same rhyme. Line 3 is 10 syllable long and has an internal rhyme scheme similar to a Toddaid.

x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x b x x
x x x x b x x x a



Reincarnation's another odd,
hope-for-fee attributed to God.
But what mysterious urge could make us
want a great surge of last year's dried pod

and leaf occupying space when new
buds want to bloom. Young, stout, sprouting yew
wants space in the garden of time to live,
to breathe, to mime the great show -- its due --

and leave. Let go, let go humankind!
once is enough, unless you're quite blind
to what comes and goes, what remains, what fruits
what flowers, what sustains, what has twined

all around old growth blocking the light.
Content yourself with atomic flight.
Do not cling, do not sigh, fume or berate.
Sorrow will plume as stars of the night.

Jan Haag 2-8-98


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Gwawdodyn hir

A nine syllable quatrain followed by a Toddaid.

x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x b x x
x x x x b x x x a


#162

Entertainment for the world preserved
in poetry, philosophy stirred
with science, religion, math immured
technology, frequently reserved
information provides the spare ration
for belief sans proof, reason inured

Jan Haag 5-20-98


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Hir a thoddaid

A ten syllable quatrain followed by a Toddaid.

x x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x b x x
x x x
x b x x x a

#2

The red brick square gleams in the late light,
buildings, immensity, black as night
figures, tiny, stroll onto the site
conscious of extraordinary height
where the downing sun breaks through gold high clouds.
People less bold, step off to the right.

Jan Haag 7-19-97


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Rhupunt

A four syllable line each stanza can be of three, four or five lines a..a..a..B. The next stanza rhymes the similar c..c..c..B. The rhyme could change for the next stanzas. We end up with a pattern thus:

x x x a
x x x a
x x x a
x x x B

x x x c
x x x c
x x x c
x x x B

It is common to join the lines together and and end up with the two stanzas making a line each. The following stanzas would do the same and the result is as shown below in the Rhupunt long.

x x x a x x x a x x x a x x x B
x x x c x x x c x x x c x x x B

#20

At dark of night when the high flight of birds is right you see shadows
against the sun as if a pun on light and dun were often foes.

With the blue moon rising too soon above the dune all luminous,
all grand and bright a glowing kite across the site quite numinous.

Birds caw in fun clouds above run and blush to shun the dying light.
And so it goes, red as the rose the last light flows into the night.

Jan Haag 1-21-98


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Tawddgyrch cadwynog

This is a similar form to the Rhupunt the only difference being the rhyme pattern a..b..b..a. and the same for the next stanza rhymes the same a..b..b..a. The rhyme could change for the next stanzas:

x x x a
x x x b
x x x b
x x x a

x x x a
x x x b
x x x b
x x x a


It is common to join the lines together and and end up with the two stanzas making a line each. The following stanzas would do the same and the result is as shown below in the Rhupunt long

x x x a x x x b x x x b x x x a
x x x a x x x b x x x b x x x a


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Toddaid

A stanza comprising of a ten syllable line alternating with a nine syllable line. A syllable towards the end of the first line rhymes with one in the middle of the second line. Similarly lines three and four. Lines two and four rhyme with each other.

x x x x x x x a x x
x x x x a x x x b

x x x x x x x c x x
x x x x c x x x b

#37

I wake in the morning with fury a-
fire, in a great hurry, anger mired
in the loss of my mind, no good for memory,
at the mercy of chemistry, hired

by God to defraud my right to a past.
Will it, I wonder, last while I live.
or should I be grateful, like the old saw. to
face my dear Pa and forget, forgive

Jan Haag 2-6-98


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Cywyddau (cywydd)


Awdl gwydd: (owdl gow-widd):

Each stanza is a quatrain of seven syllables. Lines two and four rhyme; lines one and three cross rhyme into either the second, third, fourth, OR fifth syllable of lines two and four. In the possible scheme for two stanzas below you will note that in the first stanza the third syllable was used and in the second stanza the fifth syllable was used. All four are in blue as "possibles"

It's important to state that Celtic poetry is based on sound structures to make them easy to remember, with rhyme not as important as repetition, alliteration and rhythm.

x x x x x x a
x x a x x x b
x x x x x x c
x x c x x x b

x x x x x x d
x x x x d x e
x x x x x x f
x x x x f x e

Awdl Gwydd

Love is such a heady drink
I do not think we are meant
To imbibe and also touch
Desiring so much it's sweet scent.

Dreaming throughout each long day
To find a way to spend each night.
Thus our plans given by Fate
Ending with the mate that's right.

Ryter Roethicle

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Cywydd deuair fyrion

Comprising of couplets of four syllable lines. There is no set length.

x x x a
x x x a
x x x b
x x x b
x x x c
x x x c
etc

Pines Essential trees
Are like the breeze
Waving, so pleased,
No arms that squeezed
Me, just greetings.
Half light dappling
Through their towers
Warm ground flowered
Over times showered
By verdant charms,
Opening arms
Where we'd go
to find love so
Green and mellow.
My pine forest
Is truly blest.

Kathy Anderson


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Cywydd deuair hyrion

Comprising of couplets of seven syllable lines, The first line finishes with a stressed syllable and the second with an unstressed syllable. There is no set length.

x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x b
x x x x x x b
etc

YEARNING

Waterfall on the ever
Rushing flow of loves river.
Beamed in radiant sunlight
Glinting and speaking of nights.
Listening to pensive thoughts
Gloomy on my shoulders, fraught.
My hands holding oceans seen
Before the dawn of true dreams.

Kathy Anderson


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Cywydd llosgyrnog

A stanza comprising of two lines of eight syllables the third line seven. Lines 1 and 2 rhyme and rhyme internaly with line 3. Similarly the following three lines. Lines 3 and 6 also rhyme.

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x a x x x b
x x x x x x x c
x x x x x x x c
x x c x x x b

February Dawns

Rosey and aquaed lights in clouds
Born in the father sky as vowed
By a proud shrouded stallions
Mane igniting valliance true
Across vaulted cobalt in view,
Such are hues cued in the yon.

Kathy Anderson


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Englynion (englyns)


Englyn cyrch

Stanza of four, seven syllable lines. Lines 1, 2, and 4 rhyme. Line 3, rhymes with around the middle of line four, (3rd, or 4th, or 5th syllable).

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x b
x x x b x x x a


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Englyn lleddfbroest

Quite a challenge in Enlish. Each stanza is of four, seven syllable lines. All four lines must rhyme in using Welsh dipthongs ae, oe, wy, ei or in English using imagination.

x x x x x x oe
x x x x x x oe
x x x x x x oe
x x x x x x oe


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Englyn milwr

Stanza of three, seven syllable lines turning around the same rhyme.

x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a


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Englyn penfyr

A stanza of three lines. the first of ten syllables and a couplet of seven syllables. The final word in the first line must be multisyllabic and links to the first word of the second line by rhyme, alliteration or assonance.

x x x x x x x x (x a)
a x x x x x b
x x x x x x b


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Englyn proest dalgron

Stanzas of four, seven syllable lines, consonating with one another on vowels or similar dipthongs.

x x x x x x oe
x x x x x x oe
x x x x x x oe
x x x x x x oe


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Englyn proest gadwynog

Stanzas of four seven syllable lines. Lines 1, and 3, rhyme with each other and lines 2 and 4. consonate with each other and lines 1 and two.

x x x x x x a
x x x x x x con
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x con


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Englyn unodle crwca

Line one is a ten syllable line, and line two has six syllables.Lines three and four have seven. There is a common rhyme at the seventh syllable (or sixth for the second line). The last syllable of line one assonates or aliterates with the third syllable of line two.

x x x x x x a x x b
x x b x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a


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Englyn unodle union

Comprises of two seven syllable lines and one of ten syllable with the final one of six syllables. There is a common rhyme at the seventh syllable (or sixth for the last line). The last syllable of line three assonates or aliterates with the third syllable of line four.

x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a
x x x x x x a x x b
x x b x x a


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