The Cywydd llosgyrnog is the second Welsh form of this challenge and includes many of the features you come to expect from a Welsh form including: strict syllable count, both end rhymes and internal rhymes, and an extremely difficult-to-pronounce (and spell) name!
Using this handy online Guide to Welsh Pronunciation, the best I can suss out as far as the pronunciation of this form would sound something like “kuh-with th-laws-gurr-nog,” but please understand this is only an educated guess.
Requirements of the Form
The Cywydd llosgyrnog form prescribes no restrictions in content or meter, but there are various other requirements that must be adhered to rather strictly.
– Consists of any number of single six-line stanzas (sestets)
– Lines 1, 2, 4 and 5 contain eight syllables – Lines 3 and 6 have seven syllables
-End rhymes (lines 1-6): aabccb -Internal rhymes (lines 3 and 6*): ac *generally falling on syllable 3 or 4
The Minute Poem is a modern form of unknown origin. Despite it’s name–and fortunately for us–the Minute Poem is not a poem that you must write in 60 seconds. Rather, it’s a poem consisting of exactly sixty syllables. Further requirements in length, meter, and rhyme help this form stand out and make for a fun and fairly simple challenge.
Requirements of the Form
– Consists of three quatrains (four-line stanzas) for a total of twelve lines
– Strict iambic (unstressed-stressed)
– Eight syllables in the first line of each stanza – Four syllables in the proceeding lines of each stanza
1-xxxxxxxa 2-xxxa 3-xxxb 4-xxxb
5-xxxxxxxc 6-xxxc 7-xxxd 8-xxxd
9-xxxxxxxe 10-xxxe 11-xxxf 12-xxxf
An Original Minute Poem
I often sleep through summer’s storm
I often sleep through summer’s storm when nights are warm and thick with dreams or so it seems
the quilt pulled high covers my eyes as lightning flies like moon in shroud of creeping cloud
I wake to find the darkened road the flowers bowed the sagging sky the river high
The Miltonic Sonnet is named after the 17th century English poet, political writer, and civil servant, John Milton. With the publishing of his epic poem Paradise Lost, widely regarded as one of the greatest works written in the English language, Milton solidified his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time. Milton’s work would live on to influence Romantic poets such as William Blake and William Wordsworth.
Milton adapted the Petrachan sonnet (named for Italian poet-scholar Petrach) and made the popular form his own. He took the sonnet out of the category of “love poems” and brought it into the world of politics, religion, and social issues. He also introduced enjambments (the technical term used for when a poet carries a line through to the next line), while at the same time removing the space between what was before the first and second stanzas, thus tightening up the form. By removing the volta (also known as a pivot, or turn) after the octave (first eight lines), and varying the rhyme scheme of the sestet (proceeding six lines), he further opened up the form.
A reading of one of Milton’s most famous poems should help demonstrate these contributions to the evolution of the sonnet:
“When I Consider How My Light Is Spent”
When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest He returning chide; “Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?” I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need Either man’s work or His own gifts. Who best Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed, And post o’er land and ocean without rest; They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Requirements of the Form
– Fourteen lines – No spaces between ‘stanzas’ – Lines contain enjambment (see above for brief definition)
– Occasional, political, and religious subjects – Unlike other sonnets, does not have a distinct volta (also known as a pivot) after the eighth line
– Iambic pentameter (ten syllables per line, unstressed-stressed pattern).
– First eight lines (octave): abbaabba – Preceding six lines (sestet): often cdecde, but variable
An Original Miltonic Sonnet
The viral imagine haunted every screen– A photograph too horrid to ignore: A pair of bloated bodies on the shore. In Congress followed yet another scene Of bickering and washing white-hands clean. No older than The Virgin when she bore The Savior that they claim to so adore, The budding mother wonders what they mean. As children hungry, dirty, sick and scared Are torn away and locked in concrete halls Lay weak with worry, overwhelmed with fear, The value of their lives is weighed and tared; As Washington debates the costs of walls, Who dares to speak of Christ’s compassion here?
Notes on My Original Sonnet
I challenged myself to write a sonnet that was true to the Miltonic themes of politics, religion, and current events, and found in the issue of immigration a combination of all three. The line “children hungry, dirty, sick and scared” was taken from this BBC News article and served as the fulcrum of this poem.