Attempts at Englyns (lesson 6)

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    Karin Rainbird

      I like to write poetry in honour of the Gods, but generally free-style with no particular structure (though I generally do write rhyming poems). I’m having a go at writing with the Englyn structures, and finding it quite difficult. But here are my first attempts:

      1. Englyn Penfyr – Autumn

      Autumn mists enwrap the forests hanging low
      In the crisp air, birds sing
      Knowing the joy they bring.

      My heart is light as I wonder alone
      To the forest yonder
      Enlivened by the splendour

      2. Englyn Milwr – Bran the Blessed

      O Guardian of the land
      With spear in Your mighty hand
      Protective spirit you stand

      O Mighty King, Blessed Bran
      Fearsome Giant, God or Man
      Just Ruler, Bendigeidfran.

      Son of Llyr and Penarddun
      Brother to Blessed Branwen
      With strength of a thousand men.

      O Bran of the Pierced Thighs
      Volunteered in sacrifice
      Your wondrous head of great size

      There under the Tower Hill
      Buried by Your mighty will
      Where dwell Your black Ravens still.

      So that’s my first attempts. I’d love to hear other people’s attempts.


        Hi Karin,

        Some nice poetry. You’re right, it is difficult and if we’re writing in English and trying to follow strict Welsh rhythm, rhyme, assonance and metre, it’s going to be tricky. The stressed syllables in words are important, too, they give the rhythm to the lines and verses, so when I was working on these for the Bardic Course, one thing I learnt was to avoid longer words in English, sticking to 1-2 syllables, perhaps 3 at the most, and read aloud continuously as you write. Often something sounded good in the moment of writing, next day it sounded terrible! 😀

        Here’s one I wrote while I was doing the Bardic Course – to the noble Blackbird.

        Noble Blackbird
        Englyn Lledfbroest

        Blackbird you’re a noble bird,
        Calling out to one and all.
        Blackbird why do you reveal
        Yourself when the huntsmen stalk?

        Blackbird when your cry is heard,
        In woodland, hedge or over wall,
        Hunters hunting for their meal
        Are foiled by your chattered talk.

        Not by poem nor by word,
        But by song no beast shall fall.
        What’s your secret, why your zeal?
        Tricking hunter, hounds and hawk.

        Blackbird by your song are stirred,
        Forest folk who hear your squall,
        Blackbird play your forest reel,
        Huntsmen in the woodland stalk.


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