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#15 Byr a thoddaid

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Byr a thoddaid, bir a thód-deyed (short toddaid) is the 15th codified ancient Officlal Welsh Meter, an Awdl. This stanzaic form is written in any number of quatrains made up two couplets, the cyhydedd fer and a Toddaid byr (a shortened version of Toddaid). Often a poem is made up of a series of cyhydedd fer couplets, adding the toddaid byr to the stanza which gives texture to the poem with a break in the rhythm. The order can be reversed beginning the quatrain with the toddaid byr and ending with the cyhydedd fer. The shorter line of the toddaid byr end rhymes with the main rhyme of the stanza.

This form makes use of the gair cyrch in which the main rhyme appears somewhere near the end of a longer line and the end word is a secondary rhyme. The secondary rhyme is then echoed by alliteration or assonance in the first half of the next line.  The defining features of the Byr a thoddaid are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains made up of 2 couplets,
  2. syllabic, either L1-L2 8 syllables, L3 10 syllables L4 6 syllables, or the couplets are reversed L1 10 syllables, L2 6 syllables, L3-L4 8 syllables.
  3. rhymed, mono-rhymed.
  4. composed with gair cyrch. When the main rhyme of the stanza appears within the body in the last half of a 10 syllable line the syllables following the main rhyme and caesura is the gair cyrch. The last syllable of the gair cyrch is echoed in somewhere in the first half of the next line as secondary rhyme, alliteration, consonance or assonance
    x x x x x x x A
    x x x x x x x A
    x x x x x x x A - x b                 
    x b x x A
    x x x x x x x A - x b                                         
    x x b x x A
    x x x x x x x A
    x x x x x x x A
    Thomas a Roppert rwyd par---gwersyllic
    Rwyf ryfyc ryuilgar
    Ruthr Arthur areithraw essgar
    Reithion gawr rwytharwr llawr llachar.
    ---Einion 15th century
    Darryl is Her Name by Judi Van Gorder

    She sleeps in bushes, lost her pride,
    scruffy Shepherd dog by her side.
    Day by empty day occupied - her song . . .
    words wrung from love denied.

    Vapid voices groan in her head,
    demons fight characters she's read,
    her cupboard a shopping cart, bed - a crate.
    Who will cry when she's dead?

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