WD Poetic Form Challenge: Byr a Thoddaid

A new poetic form, a new challenge. Let’s take on the byr a thoddaid this time around. Find the rules for byr a thoddaid poems here. It can be as concise as four lines or go on for quite a time.

So start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on August 22, 2016.
  • Poets can enter as many byr a thoddaid poems as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better, but remember: I’m judging on quality, not quantity.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com. Or just write a new byr a thoddaid. They’re fun to write; I promise.
  • I will only consider byr a thoddaid poems shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your user/screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!

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Click to continue.

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff. He’s also the author of the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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148 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Byr a Thoddaid

  1. James Von Hendy

    This is Heaven

    The man we love most in the world
    is dying. He sits, fingers curled
    around the covers of an open book
    to mark his place, and though

    he nods asleep, each time he wakes
    he reads with wonder what he takes
    to be words he’s not read before. Tonight
    dim light pools on the floor

    about his bare and swollen feet,
    taut skin pale as a winding sheet.
    He says there’s nothing after death, so this
    is heaven’s realm, the breath-

    less living room, its curtains drawn
    against the night. “We’re here, we’re gone.”
    He shrugs, and smiles at us, son and wife.
    “This life’s a benison.

    “No other heaven can compare.”
    It’s true we’d rather not despair.
    These long evenings, spanning years, are blessed,
    and best, it staves our tears.

  2. RJ Clarken

    Artisanal Salt

    So, take this with a grain or two:
    A salt like Fleur de Sel. Who knew?
    Foodies love Himalayan Pink. As salt,
    no ‘alt’ exists, they think.

    Hawaii’s sweet Alaea Clay
    has minerals from sea and bay.
    So delicate! And Cyprus Flake appeals
    in meals with fish or steak.

    Try Yakima on light repast.
    And are there more? I’m glad you asked.
    Like, Salish Alderwood, which pairs quite well
    (it’s Sel!) with caramel.

    Fumée’s a bit like Chardonnay.
    Great notes of wine and oak. Gourmet!
    Peruvian. And Bali. Gris. Their taste
    has graced a potpourri

    of dishes fit for gastronome
    so get some for your chef at home.
    We’ve covered salt both big and small – it’s grand
    gourmand. Artisanal.

    ###

    1. RJ Clarken

      Ooops – I just realized I goofed in the Yakima verse. I should have had something to rhyme with ‘pairs.’

      My bad.

      So, if you would kindly pronounce caramel as ‘carmel’ as opposed to ‘car-a-mel’, then this revision works, I think:

      Artisanal Salt

      So, take this with a grain or two:
      A salt like Fleur de Sel. Who knew?
      Foodies love Himalayan Pink. As salt,
      no ‘alt’ exists, they think.

      Hawaii’s sweet Alaea Clay
      has minerals from sea and bay.
      So delicate! And Cyprus Flake appeals
      in meals with fish or steak.

      Try Yakima on light repast.
      And are there more? I’m glad you asked.
      Like, Salish Alderwood, which pairs quite well
      (it’s Sel!) with caramel squares.

      Fumée’s a bit like Chardonnay.
      Great notes of wine and oak. Gourmet!
      Peruvian. And Bali. Gris. Their taste
      has graced a potpourri

      of dishes fit for gastronome
      so get some for your chef at home.
      We’ve covered salt both big and small – it’s grand
      gourmand. Artisanal.

      ###

      1. PressOn

        You say “carmel” and I say “caramel”; you say “calmel” and I say “calomel.” Carmel, caramel, calmel, calomel, but let’s not call the whole thing off. This piece is a delightful potpourri of sounds and instruction, even for old salts.

  3. Jane Shlensky

    Sky Loop

    He dreams of flight, horizon’s slight
    of slowly rising into light
    until, aloft, awash in shades of blue
    made new, land’s trouble fades,

    but clouds like lambs at heaven’s gates
    turn surly dark and loud. He waits
    as tight fear grips his brain, flight’s worth disproved.
    For earth, he longs, reproved.

  4. Tracy Davidson

    Unbroken

    Bruised again, but still not broken,
    words of love were never spoken.
    I hope these memories will fade away
    some day, my heart less frayed.

  5. PressOn

    ON TACKLING BYR A THODDAIDS

    In poetry I like to try
    new ways to write and satisfy;
    this often leads me, though, to pounce on swarms
    of forms I can’t pronounce

    and regulations, pretzel bound,
    that puzzle, muzzle, and confound.
    I’ve often thought that I should squelch my tries
    but I don’t want to welsh.

    —William Preston

  6. RJ Clarken

    Florence Foster Jenkins

    She couldn’t sing a note in tune.
    Her ears were truly quite immune
    to rhythm, meter, nuance, skills. And worse,
    rehearsal strengthened ills.

    But ‘though her vocals seemed a joke,
    she played to crowds of gents bespoke
    and ladies of an echelon most high.
    Defy, phenomenon.

    ###

  7. RJ Clarken

    Sympathy Card

    The card expressed solicitude
    with flowery language. Guess the mood
    was well intended to convey belief
    that grief’s not here to stay.

    Nice cardstock full of pretty words,
    of sunstreaked clouds, of little birds,
    are kind; still, emotion won’t leave my side.
    Can’t hide; since I yet grieve.

    ###

  8. Jane Shlensky

    The Player

    He is in love with instruments,
    with music’s many hues and tints,
    how harmony and melody collide
    inside musicians, free

    to listeners and other players too
    who grew, wrapped in layers
    of sound sweet, soft, and kind
    or dancing in each player’s mind.

    Of course, he loves them—who would not
    who knows music heals pains we’ve got?
    It helps us smile and soothes away our pain
    again each time we play.

  9. Jane Shlensky

    Sunset

    The sea breathes, rasping in and out,
    the breeze gusting, as sea birds shout
    bird word play, schools of thought and schools of fish,
    a wish floats in still pools.

    His fingers clasp her aging hand—
    so many years of shifting sand,
    of surging joys, of pains that can’t erase
    her face in twilight’s slant.

    So time’s sea ebbs and flows, each crest
    lifting a moment cursed and blessed,
    transforming them again, making them young
    new-sprung from life’s aching.

  10. Jane Shlensky

    Academic Love

    He needs a field guide into love,
    explaining things. Ignorant of
    love’s habitat, its mating, nesting, flight—
    fear’s bite won’t let him rest.

    He notes manifestations of
    emotions, he might label love.
    He sings a song no one can hear; untried,
    he lied about his fear

    to talk of matters of the heart
    while making sure he’s set apart—
    philosopher who will not yield the floor
    to forces in love’s field.

  11. Jane Shlensky

    Big ol’ whoops. Previous one posted was inaccurate.

    Pacing

    “Love is a distance runner, friend,”
    he says, feeling this race begin.
    No matter that her touch-and-go still hurts,
    he flirts to let her know

    she’s more important than she thinks—
    she’s everything to him. Time blinks
    as his eyes hold her close, touching their hearts,
    love starts, its pulse clutching.

  12. Karen

    The choir rocks vocally gifted
    men spiritually lifted
    locked in the moment invigorating
    they sing like angels soar

    Their little lights were shining bright
    the audience was mesmerized
    excitement rose with each ascending note
    ovation the ending

    1. Karen

      (Revised version)
      by: Karen Wilson

      The Choir rocks vocally gifted,
      men spiritually lifted,
      locked in the moment invigorating,
      they sing like angels’ soar.

      Their little lights are shining bright
      the audience is mesmerized.
      Excitement welled with each ascending note
      ovation the ending.

  13. DMK

    time warbled woman seeking love
    soft touch hold fitting like a glove
    knowing where my zones are and can find them
    a stem of not any rose

    one pruned, weeded, watered, fed
    consistently do just what you said
    my gardener I won’t care what you bought
    see lilac not a rose

    Dawn Kvernenes

  14. grcran

    but can you change where you’re from

    three Texans emerged on national stage
    (i raged embarrassed stunned)
    showed moxie mixed with moronics
    increasing world histrionics

    in consideration I sadly cringe
    lunatic fringe so bad
    i never thought i’d hesitate
    to say i’m from the lone star state

    gpr crane

  15. grcran

    measure of intelligence

    we see the whales but briefly then
    hard blow. quick breath. flukes and a fin.
    cetaceans. oceans welcome them. top of brain chain.
    life, love exudes from these. tis plain.

    complex to compare, but av’rage humans
    merely wage-earn, rarely rumin-
    ating… as whales sing symphonies,
    illume the wide man-dirtied seas.

    gpr crane

  16. Jane Shlensky

    Raising Baby Girl

    She runs to him. He lifts her up
    as if she were an China cup
    raised joyfully to heaven’s will. She flies—
    her eyes with wonder fill,

    as Daddy holds her up for grace,
    and she mirrors his smiling face.
    So fatherhood lifts up his heart and mind,
    to find love’s tender art.

  17. Jane Shlensky

    Pacing

    “Love is a distance runner, friend,”
    he says, feeling this race begin.
    No matter that her touch-and-go still hurts,
    he flirts to let her know

    she’s more important than she thinks—
    she’s everything to him. Time blinks
    as his eyes hold her close, touching their hearts,
    clutching as love’s pace starts.

  18. lsteadly

    The Soldier’s Sacrifice

    I can’t possibly know the kind of hell
    that fell across your mind
    when you found yourself trenched in war
    that gives the rest freedom to soar

    We must honor you, every one,
    who sacrifice all with your gun
    defending our country you say goodbye
    and cry for soldiers slayed

  19. lsteadly

    This is a revised and corrected rhyming pattern of my previous entry…

    Remembering Us

    Fog settles thick over the fields
    summer bows to fall as time wields
    its tireless hand across our life, sees
    old memories flower

    The wind carries my thoughts away with you
    trees sway, bending the view
    arranging us into fragments
    remembered in splendid moments

    – Lisa L Stead

  20. PressOn

    THE OLD MAN’S CUR

    He’s been there since they filled the grave
    and there he stays, a living trave,
    the last of light dissembling through his fur
    as purple fades to blue.

  21. PressOn

    THE PLEIADES

    The seven stars that form this teacup wait
    for their fate in the lee
    of the sky as others pass by.
    How strange to spy stars high and dry.

    —William Preston

  22. PressOn

    VOCALIST

    Her voice is clarity, an urgent sound
    the rounds the whole of her
    and makes the band an instrument
    of taste and touch and sight and scent.

    She sings of times of happiness;
    she sings of things she must confess;
    she sings of failure, yet she’s free to go,
    and so she sings for me.

    —William Preston

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