Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Da iawn!

Welcome back, everyone.  Grace here.  Last time we ventured into the twenty-four official formats of medieval Welsh poetry.  No, it wasn't a dream (or a nightmare).  This week, we'll continue our exploration with the Cywydd Llosgyrnog.

A second building block in the "cywydd" meter, this format is written using sestets.  The poem itself can be of any number of stanzas, but each stanza has a strict meter, containing two eight-syllable couplets and two interlacing rhymes on the third and sixth lines.  The third and sixth lines also rhyme with one another.  It's not as terrible as it sounds, now that we've attempted the awdl gywydd!

There are very few examples available on the internet, and most books I've found show the verses in the original Welsh.  So I had to call in a favor or two.  This one, from Marian, is called "poetic license":
hot tears flow as a rushing stream.
she jerks like waking from a dream,
glossy gleamed eyes, wet with rage,
turn hard against who waits for her
in chapter six. her muse can't lure
fraught demon purrs from each page.

Here, we note that the meter and rhyme are extremely similar to our previous work, with an extra couple of lines:
My first attempt is called "apothecary":
The scent of rain and stormy air.
A Pumpkin King's candle-lit stare.
Candy corn, preserved, bottled
with hot toddy and some cut grass,
one blazing leaf stuffed in the glass.
Then age the label mottled,
and on first glance, it looks right.  However, I've moved my internal rhyme to the fourth line and dropped the second link entirely.  For a better example, here is a rough-drafted verse of a longer poem I'm making now, with the cross-rhymes italicized:

Questions answered, or denied flat,
all cards are laid out on the mat.
We stand at a bound'ry thin.
Tonight, the night wins over all.
The dimming waltz awaits our call.
With our fall, the end begins.

The cross-rhyme, or interlaced rhyme, can again shuffle between the third, fourth, and fifth syllables.  It may look difficult, but it's more like putting together a puzzle than anything else, especially with the flexibility of the interlaced rhyme.  Just be sure to put it in the correct place, unlike my first attempt!

Our final example comes from Jan Haag's "The Desolation Poems: Poetry Forms Used in English".  It doesn't adhere strictly to the meter, but I enjoyed reading her interpretation.  It is named, simply, "Cywydd Llosgyrnog".

The rain, the black night, the siren
are not claimed by morning's garden,
nor is the pen on its trips --
gliding so smoothly within each
phrase, sour-powered and inky
-- into pale parse-hidden pips.

Another explanation of the cywydd llosgyrnog can be found at Poetry Magnum Opus, including a pronunciation.  I'm excited to read what you link up for this challenge!

Next time we'll touch down on one of the easiest (I promise!) building blocks in Welsh traditional meters, so please do your best, and stay tuned.


vivinfrance said...

Not to be taken seriously, my three stanza attempt is here: http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/predicament/

Marian said...

okay, while you all toil on your cywydd llosgyrnog, i will try to get the Mr. Linky up there! wish me luck on my maiden Mr. Linky voyage...

Kerry O'Connor said...

And there it is like magic!

Laurie Kolp said...

Thank you, Grace. I hope I did it right.

Kay L. Davies said...

Grace, Grace, Grace, what are you trying to do to us?
Okay, I'm old, and I panic about learning new things. But I will give this a great deal of thought while I'm out getting my flu-shot today, and hope to link up my attempt later this afternoon.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Grace O'Malley said...

Even better, folks, my example is WRONG. I'll fix it, but bear in mind that tricky little internal rhyme. I appear to have placed it in the wrong place. Sigh.

Mary Ann Potter said...

I could only squeeze out one stanza, but I feel like I've accomplished a great deal! A nice exercise. I need to learn more about structure, and I'm glad I gave this a try!

Jinksy said...

Ever the humorist, me.

Peter Goulding said...

This is better than a college education.

Ella said...

Wow Grace I am intrigued and yet I feel like my mind is doing somersaults! Once the caffeine wears off; I'm going to try this~ I love yours!

Marian said...

hah, these ridiculous forms are not so ridiculous! love it. thank you, Grace.

Grace O'Malley said...

It took me way longer than usual to post my attempts. Thanks, everyone, for stepping up and posting patiently while I was wrestling this piece to the ground!