Cyhydedd Hir: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the cyhydedd hir, a Welsh quatrain form.
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Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the cyhydedd hir, a Welsh quatrain form.

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Cyhydedd Hir Poems

The cyhydedd hir (not to be confused with the cyhydedd fer) is a Welsh poetic form comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas). Here are basic guidelines:

  • lines one, two, and three have five syllables
  • line four has four syllables
  • lines one, two, and three rhyme with each other
  • line four of the first quatrain rhymes with line four of the second quatrain

Note on stanzas: While this is a quatrain form, consecutive quatrains can be combined (to connect the fourth line rhymes) to make this an octave (8-line stanza) form. I've formatted my example below for both variations.

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Here’s my attempt at a cyhydedd hir:

Quatrain version:

Pretenders, by Robert Lee Brewer

Pretenders pretend
as the night descends
& pain starts to mend
for a short while

& lovers unite
in the fading light
of their fight or flight
for a shared smile

that sings love & fear
whether far or near
in their fragile ears
when they're alone

& pain makes them quake
& begin to shake
as they lie awake
on a fake throne.

Octave version:

Pretenders, by Robert Lee Brewer

Pretenders pretend
as the night descends
& pain starts to mend
for a short while
& lovers unite
in the fading light
of their fight or flight
for a shared smile

that sings love & fear
whether far or near
in their fragile ears
when they're alone
& pain makes them quake
& begin to shake
as they lie awake
on a fake throne.

(As you can see, the main difference is whether to connect the rhyming quatrains or not.)

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