Cywydd Llosgyrnog: Poetic Form

Just when you think we’ve uncovered every poetic form under the sun, we unearth another Welsh form–this time, cywydd llosgyrnog.

Cywydd Llosgyrnog Poems

Besides the spelling of the name, a poet can figure out this is a Welsh form pretty quick because it’s a syllabic-based form with internal rhymes. Here’s the structure of this six-line form (with the letters acting as syllables and the a’s, b’s, and c’s signifying rhymes:

1-xxxxxxxa
2-xxxxxxxa
3-xxxaxxb
4-xxxxxxxc
5-xxxxxxxc
6-xxxcxxb

So lines 1, 2, 4, and 5 are 8 syllables in length with lines 1 and 2 rhyming as well as lines 4 and 5. Lines 3 and 6 have 7 syllables and rhyme with each other; plus, line 3 has an internal rhyme with lines 1 and 2 while line 6 has an internal rhyme with lines 4 and 5. No other rules as far as subject matter or meter.

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Here’s my attempt at a Cywydd Llosgyrnog:

Daffodils, by Robert Lee Brewer

Daffodils don’t sway in the breeze
every time you hear old men sneeze;
instead, they tease spring awake
with their precocious happiness
in maintained beds and wilderness–
a simple dress for love’s sake.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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9 thoughts on “Cywydd Llosgyrnog: Poetic Form

  1. taylor graham

    OUTSIDE THE GARDEN SHOP

    Shovels, hoes, rakes, packets of seeds
    beckon him to blooms without weeds –
    He knows this leads to sweating
    hard work. Do birds fall for this trick?
    A twitter from the wall of brick
    and its lyric is pure spring.

  2. Amy Baskin

    The River Flows Without Us

    I let my younger sister down
    and now she wears a muddy gown
    of rotted brown by the bank
    of the river rushing by her.
    I ruminate on what we were,
    but I can’t stir; my spirit sank.

    1. Amy Baskin

      Oops- last line is too long by one syllable.

      changed it a bit:

      The River Flows Without Us

      I let my younger sister down
      and now she wears a muddy gown
      of rotted brown by the bank
      of the river rushing by her.
      I ruminate on all we were,
      but I can’t stir; my soul sank.

  3. taylor graham

    OVERLOOKED

    This derelict place, lost between
    town and river, overnight’s gone green.
    Yet unseen, the willow bud
    and berry fingerling push through
    to greet a sky brushed stormy blue.
    Mucked earth, too, is good brown mud.

    A LONG TRAIL

    Forget what I said, once a-time,
    about trail-dust and the hard climb.
    Turn a rhyme, and hike your pack –
    and here’s a meadow lying green
    and blooming. Look, a peregrine!
    first we’ve seen. Who’s turning back?

    WINDFALL IN DROUGHT

    The year is flinging off its gold
    in leaf, in leaf-fall litter. Cold –
    dragon-old and contrary.
    A scab-bark willow’s tarnished brown.
    No profit in wind-winnow down,
    thistle-down. Mustn’t tarry.

    When comes promise of spattered pane,
    storm clouds lowering, scent of rain?
    We remain here, with our hopes
    rooted like the gray trees standing,
    sentinels in dark gathering,
    guarding on the silent slopes.

  4. PressOn

    Apropos of several who have commented on difficulty in posting on this site, I just tried to submit a piece called A CYWYDD LLOSGRYNOG IS NO FUN TO PRONOUNCE, BUT… I duly logged in and attempted to post, only to have to repeat the attempt 40 times in succession, after which I received a reply that my post was “awaiting moderation.” This is frustrating, to say the least,

  5. PressOn

    A CYWYDD LLOSGRYNOG IS NO FUN TO PRONOUNCE, BUT…

    Welsh forms turn my tongue all a-twist;
    frustrating, but here is the gist:
    they are grist for creating
    new images, rhythms, and rounds
    as they stretch my hidebound old bounds
    into sounds worth the prating.

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