"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Awdl Gywydd and what to do if it bites you

I can't believe I'm 50 years old and this is my first awdl gywydd. What have I done with my life?
Actually I'd never heard of an awdl until Grace O'Malley at Imaginary Toads encouraged us to write one a few days ago. Basically its a strictly formal Welsh Middle Ages poetic form - Grace will enlighten you further on the link.
Being a Welsh verse form, I thought I'd go for a Welsh theme. Wales play France in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup this weekend after knocking out Ireland. Personally, I wasn't too bothered. In Ireland, rugby is basically a public school / private school sport, like in Scotland and in England, whereas in Wales it is more working class. I'm also prejudiced because the school I went to in England was modelled on public school lines and we all had to play rugby instead of footie which killed me.
But for the Welsh, I hope ye go on to win it -

Men of Harlech

Men of Harlech, clear your throats,
dismount your goats, practise scrums,
dream of your valleys of green,
stick heads between comrades’ bums.

Put aside your aching bones,
Jenkins, Jones and Warburton.
If you find the French too strong,
your bones will long be hurtin’.

Men of Swansea, Newport, Rhyl,
the valleys will be cheering.
Jaws will harden, buttocks clench –
the feckless French are nearing.

Clasp tightly your odd-shaped balls,
Destiny calls to stir you.
Choirs sing of you in B flat
but don’t let that deter you.


  1. What a wonderful creation - I could almost sing it! LOL Thank you for such a fun offering. ♥

  2. Pete — I have no idea how they'd say this in Wales. Grandpa Davies insisted he was Scottish. So, in Scotland, they'd say "nae sae bad"!
    Well, you made me laugh.
    You could get a bit more rhythm if you switched the first two words of the last stanza. "Tightly clasp" is easier to say than "Clasp tightly" without "to" after it, don't you think?
    And you can promote the rhythm you want by using punctuation, for instance: "Choirs sing of you, in B flat," will make the emphasis in the next line fall on "that" to emphasize the rhyme.
    See? You got me going by offering me a compliment, and I'm off, like an old-maid grammar teacher. Sorry 'bout that.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. A great display by Shels tonight Peter! Sligo v Shels final maybe.

  4. Yeah.. since South Africa was reffed out their last game, I hope Wales goes on to take the tournament from the New Zealanders!

    I loved the tongue-in-cheek tone of this poem, and the jaunty rhythm afforded by the form was perfect.

  5. Jinksy - many thanks
    Kay - oh don't apologise! Tightly clasp is much better. I think I'll need to visit the Choirs line too. Great advice!
    Michael - always the pessimist, I fear we had our chance last night and threw it away. Pats won't play so badly on Monday. Though Shels v Sligo would be sweet!
    Kerry - reffed out of it? That's normally our excuse!

  6. Oh, stars, this is great. It's terribly fun.

    I love, love, love how I can throw out a challenge and get twenty completely differing poems out of this group, and this awdl gywydd is a great example.

  7. Peter! You can comment. Well done on solving the technical problem.

  8. HAH! i have nothing to say about rugby, but i love you for rhyming scrums with bums!