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Frank Coffman

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Frank Coffman

The Great Eisteddfod

(an Acrostic *Quadrina Sonnet done in the intricate

Welsh meter of **Englyn Lledfbroest,

making use of ***Cynghanedd Sain in several lines

and internal rhyme in most)


by Frank Coffman


The Welsh schools and rules of rhyme

Old treasured measures most proud—

Under laws of clause they croon

Grabbing words like birds deployed,

Harvesting strong song from soils:

Each mote a sweet note of chime.

Seeking the peak, the bright jewel,

That soon may croon them the crown.


Each year they gather around—

No choice voice devoid of ploys—

Great bards providing hard proof;

Lines from the mines of their minds:

Youths, old sing gold as they glide,

Now near perfection they toil.


*The Quadrina Sonnet is my invented form, based upon the regular stanza changes of the Sestina. The rhymes (in this case ASSONANCES on the diphthongs long I, oy, oo, and ow—as close as we can come in English to the Welsh form) as 1234   4132    2431 in the first 12 lines and then using the diphthongs—two each in each of the last two lines—to make up for the final 1234 quatrain of the Quadrina proper.

**Englyn Lledfbroest is, properly, a heptasyllabic quatrain on the diphthongs ae, oe, wy, ei (not precisely possible in English, but the diphthongs I’ve chosen are as close as we can come). The meter, as in most Celtic language poetics is syllabic, not measured in “feet.”

*** Cynghanedd Sain is one of the standard Welsh “harmonies.” Two words in the line must rhyme with the second rhymed word alliterating with the final word of the line. I have used this in the lines that are underlined in the poem.

****Internal Rhyme is, of course, not specifically Welsh, although many of its meters require it. Englyn Lledfbroest does not, but I have added it in almost all of the lines. It’s required (as noted above) in Cynghanedd Sain.





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