Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Writing Exercise - The Gwawdodyn

by Ashley Lister


The gwawdodyn (pronounced GWOW-DOD-IN) is a Welsh form of poetry that is presented in a variety of different guises. Differences are argued on the presentation of the rhyme scheme of the third and fourth lines. However, my favourite interpretation of this form is illustrated by the poem below.

There’s no greater pleasure than kissing
I say this whilst we’re reminiscing.
Your lips against mine: our tongues intertwined
Let’s try it: find out what you’re missing.

This version of the gwawdodyn follows this structure:

x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x b x x x x b
x x x x x x x x a

Each x represents a syllable. Lines 1, 2 and 4 each have nine syllables, and an ‘a’ rhyme. Line 3 has ten syllables and an internal ‘b’ rhyme.

Keep in mind there are other versions of this (and perhaps the reason I like this one so much is because it reminds me of the limerick). As always, I look forward to seeing your poetry in the comments box below.


9 comments:

  1. Indeed, how does this differ from a limerick?

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    1. A very good question (and I've been remiss in not responding sooner). This only differs from the limerick in that the syllable count of the a rhyme is fixed at nine syllables, whereas the limerick can vary syllable counts in the a rhyme to something substantially different from 9 syllables. Similarly, the b rhyme in a limerick can be 4, 5, 6 and & syllables depending on the verse. However, whilst it looks like I'm hedging, I know that you're right and this form is not so markedly different from the beloved limerick.

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  2. A couple of ten syllable line but they scanned better this way.

    Her nails on my skin were so scratchy
    I dripped candles until she was waxy
    we lay on my bed while she gave me head
    then I sent her back home in a taxi

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    1. Rachel - classy as always.
      In the second line, could you have said, 'til she was waxy ? It would lose one of the syllables.

      That said, I agree with your point about the scansion. This is intelligent and sexy without being as reductive as the limerick form :-)

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  4. Written in the spirit of a limerick.

    A dinner alone with my dear heart
    I brought in dessert on a low cart
    My skirt flipped up high, I sat on a pie
    Now look what I've done; I'm your sweet tart

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    1. Almendra - that is clever from start to finish. I know some writers who eschew rhyming forms but you've made this one work. It's witty (yes it does read like a limerick) but it's also saucy enough to get readers intrigued.

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  5. These are delightful, and they do look like variations on a limerick. I so regret missing the deadline for the anthology of erotic verse that you are currently editing, Ashley, but I'm sure I'll see familiar names in it.

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    1. Jean Roberta

      They are fun, aren't they? I like that they're similar to limericks but they have enough of their own heritage to make them seem like something new.

      I'll keep you fully up to speed with developments in the anthology. It looks like it will be a cracking read.

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