Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What the Hey is a Gwawdodyn?

I discovered a poetic form with which I was completely unfamiliar while reading my most recent edition of Writer's Digest.  It's called a gwawdodyn, which is a Welsh poem made up of as many quatrains as you want with an interesting meter and rhyme scheme.  The first, second, and fourth lines rhyme and contain nine syllables while the third line contains an internal rhyme and is ten syllables long.  In another version, the rhyme in the third line is not at the end of the line and rhymes with the end sounds in the other three lines.  I liked the form, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I think I cheated a little on mine.  The sample given in the magazine had the internal rhyme on the fifth and tenth syllables, whereas I just put it wherever I could get it to fit.  I also carried thoughts from one stanza to the next.  But it's a poem.  What fun is it if you don't break a rule now and then?

Here it goes:

Gwawdodyn About Poetry
Inspired by Billy Collins’ “Introduction to Poetry”
by Joe Stephens

“I’m bad at poetry,” they all say.
"Studying poems makes a bad day.
Must you make student life so full of strife,
By torturing us with rhymes this way?"

“But poems,” I say, “are like language
Concentrate.  And besides what damage
Can I do to your psyche? It’s likely
You’ll thank me someday when you manage

To read a poem and see the light.
The words will leap up and take such flight
In your mind’s eye if you will simply try
To let them soar—don’t hold them too tight.”

Once in while I see a wee glimmer,
But mostly their eyes remain dimmer.
I hope that someday they all find their way
To finding joy in each word’s shimmer.

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