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Gwawdodyn: Poetic Forms

The gwawdodyn is a Welsh poetic form with a couple variations. However, both versions are comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas) that have a 9/9/10/9 syllable pattern and matching end rhymes on lines 1, 2, and 4. The variations are made in that third line:

  • One version has an internal rhyme within the third line. So there's a rhyme somewhere within the third line with the end rhyme on the third line.
  • The other version has an internal rhyme within the third line that rhymes with an internal rhyme in the fourth line.

In both cases, the rhyme starts somewhere in the middle of the third line and it is a unique rhyme to the end rhyme in lines 1, 2, and 4.

Here's a possible diagram for the first version (with the x's symbolizing syllables):

1-xxxxxxxxa
2-xxxxxxxxa
3-xxxxbxxxxb
4-xxxxxxxxa

Note: The "b" rhyme in the middle of line 3 could slide to the left or right as needed by the poet.

Here's an example I wrote for the first version:

"Cheat," by Robert Lee Brewer

The rumors you've heard are true: I run
to forget my past. What I have won,
I've lost in lasting memories, blasting
through my brain like bullets from a gun.

As you can see, "run," "won," and "gun" rhyme with each other, as do "lasting" and "blasting."

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Here's a possible diagram for the second version:

1-xxxxxxxxa
2-xxxxxxxxa
3-xxxxbxxxxx
4-xxxbxxxxa

Note: In this version, both "b" rhymes can slide around in their respective lines, which affords the poet a little extra freedom.

Here's my example modified for the second version:

"Cheat," by Robert Lee Brewer

The rumors you've heard are true: I run
to forget my past. What I have won,
I've lost in lonley moments, my sorrow
my only friend while others are stunned.

In this version, "run," "won," and "stunned" rhyme (okay, "stunned" is a slant rhyme), while "lonely" and "only" rhyme inside lines 3 and 4.

Please play around with the form this week, because it'll be the focus of the next WD Poetic Form Challenge starting next week.

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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer's Digest Writing Community. Voted 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, his debut full-length poetry collection Solving the World's Problems is due out from Press 53 on September 1, 2013. He's married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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