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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