#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was a #Toddaid. Enjoy examples by Lesley Curwen, Tim Fellows, Jane Dougherty and Robert Frede Kenter and read how they felt when writing one.


We stroll together on a winter’s day
with no hint that anything has changed.
Where the icy footpath splits apart our
drifting souls and hearts become estranged.

How Did It Go?

This format is a little tricky but fun. I tried not to effectively use the rhymes as pseudo line-ends. I might try this on a longer form. I didn’t really have any new ideas for the content so I went down a well trodden path.

Tim Fellows

At the end of time

At the end of time and all things, there will
be, through the storm, a thrush still, that sings,

and the song in his throat, earth-fade’s lament
for the stars all spent, the dark sun’s birth.


Standing here, the place that was ours, we said,
the light green then red, waiting for hours,

though I know there’s no point, still kid myself
the crowd on this empty street will part,

a pushing seaward of time, and you’ll stride
back, then, when every stretched lie was true.

How did it go?

I found a Welsh site (in English translation) that explained this form. This is what I understood. Structure is couplets, L1 10 syllables, L2 9 syllables. Main rhyme, which can be assonance or consonance, is mid L1 end L2, and there’s an echo rhyme end of L1 and mid L2. Like all Welsh forms it should be song-like.
I really enjoyed writing these poems, particularly that slanting rhyme scheme that breaks the lines and binds them together at the same time. Like all poetry forms in translation, we tend to calculate in English syllables which isn’t the same as the original meter, making it hard, I find, to keep to an even rhythm. It was well worth the effort though.
The first poem is my tentative first attempt, expecting it was going to be difficult. The second poem is more loosely ‘adapted’, keeping the line structure but mixing assonance and consonance and abandoning the lyrical aspect. I have posted the stages in-between in the Toddaid post on my blog.

Jane Dougherty


I had no fuss to write, to think. The earth
pulled dearth to pink-grey femur. Dust
the graves with leaves, dry this Christmas, patterned.
We are shattered without drink, the glass.

A Night in Brooklyn

If a dream had any consequence, yours
Insinuated pouring violets.
Rain, rain — tap on window ledges — till soaked,
Newspapers, and words — inviolate.


We ran through laneways, shortly out of breath.
Who leapt, — Us — so entertained, entwined –
Young school friends –divine — out of uniforms —
button, adored button, confining.

Behind the schoolhouse, kissing, precocious.
Oh, ferocious, were the coded rules.
In school, with runes in the late afternoon,
You and I, and Spoons — night spinning cool.

How Did It Go?

Toddaid, a 19th century Welsh verse form. The challenge was creating end rhymes that corresponded with internal rhymes, couplets into quatrains, plus end rhymes in lines 2 and 4. It took time to keep each component in the air and find words to correspond and maintain a mood. I created three, I enjoyed this form, though its finnicky. It helped me to explore – perhaps simply – odd figures, active rhythms, with some form of edgy dreamy imagery. Captured tableaus, still and in motion, fixed frameworks of an after-echo.

Robert Frede Kenter

Heaven and earth

Beyond seeing they go into the dark
Beyond touch their faces are cold
Beyond gravity their molecules stream
Beyond galaxies their souls are rolled.

Around the fireplace we have hung their smiles
Around five, expect them at the door
Around the house we hold the things they held
A round life, whose sweetness fills our core.

How Did It Go?

I found this form quite difficult, especially balancing the rhyme with the number of syllables. Many rewrites, especially for the last line. I didn’t make it any easier for myself by using repetition of the first words in each line.  I think it makes for song-like poems, rather old fashioned but quite pleasing.

Bio and Links

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer, editor & visual artist, publisher of Ice Floe Press http://www.icefloepress.net. Work in journals, online & in print, some published books, participant in numerous art exhibitions, public readings and occasional performance work. Tweets: @frede_kenter.

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