Bardic Forms

Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dylan Thomas both made some use of old Welsh Bardic poetic forms (of which there are 24) . They have complex patterns of alliteration and internals rhymes within strict metres.

Here is a poem by Katherine Bryant  in one of the Welsh Bardic styles called “cywydd deuair hirion.”

(It is an example of a poem composed in a language not native to the style as they would usually be in Welsh).

Great my lord, sword and singing,
Over his shire, verses ring.
Bright fame in game and guidance,
Brass Lamp’s dream gleam in his glance
Gifted bard, Lantern’s guardian,
Graceful word heard from his hand.
Sharp his steel, sure praises tell,
Surefoot cat leaing battle.
I speak who know, praise owing,
I feel his steel and its sting.
I know his cheer, clear clamor,
I know his song, strong its soar,
I hear his wise words clearly.
I praise his grace in my glee.
May fame increase, unceasing;
My praise I raise, may it ring!

Having read this aloud to myself it’s clear to me that Robin Williamson has also used it.

I intend to investigate all this more, with the help of a text called Gwenllian’s Poetry Primer by Katherine Bryant (when I can find a copy), because I am very attracted to the ‘music’ of Welsh poetry, which I am sure can be used in the same musical way in English


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