Here’s what the Cyhydedd Naw Ban poetry form is:
Cyhydedd naw ban is a rhymed couplet form that is numbered among the 24 codified Welsh meters.
Each line written in cyhydedd naw ban is nine syllables.
Cyhydedd naw ban often functions more like a basic building block to make poems out of, rather than a complete form.
So if you want to learn all about the Cyhydedd Naw Ban poetry type, then you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s jump into it!
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Forms of Poetry: Cyhydedd Naw Ban
Cyhydedd naw ban is one of the easiest of the codified Welsh forms to work with, being simply comprised of nine-syllable rhyming couplets.
While enterprising poets may decide to weave as many properties of Welsh poetry into the poem as possible, such as a focus on alliteration and other repetition-based techniques, the form itself has no such complications.
Like the rest of the codified Welsh forms, cyhydedd naw ban is focused mostly on making the poem pleasing to the ear, though in this case it only employs rhyme and syllable counts to do so.
The traditions of Welsh oral poetry predate written poetry and tend to be more focused on sound and rhythm as a result.
Basic Properties of Cyhydedd Naw Ban
|Unpopular; very few mentions in English
How Is Cyhydedd Naw Ban Structured?
Unlike a great number of other Celtic forms, including many of the other codified Welsh meters, poems written in cyhydedd naw ban are surprisingly self-explanatory.
If each couplet rhymes and each line is nine syllables, then the basic obligations of the form are met.
It should be noted that the poem can actually be any even number of lines long.
The rules of the cyhydedd naw ban are simply repeated until the poem ends, though each couplet can have its own end sound. (Functionally making the rhyme scheme AA BB CC DD, etc.)
The poem can either be written with multiple couplets grouped together or with every couplet separate, depending on the writer’s preference. As such, quatrains and octaves are valid options.
The emphasis for Irish forms is typically on how the poem sounds orally, rather than how the poem looks on paper, so the structure is still considered “correct” if the actual syllables are in their proper places.
Celtic poems typically don’t use the English concept of meter and cyhydedd naw ban is no exception.
There is no predefined pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Additionally, there is no rule as to how many syllables the last word of each line can have, though this is a common element of other Welsh forms.
Example of a Cyhydedd Naw Ban Poem
Deep in an old forest somewhere near,
I wonder if you’ve ever been here,
but as I travel the path through green,
I think that surely you’ve never seen
half as lovely a calm place as this
in which to share a clandestine kiss.
The above poem is a simple example of a six-line poem written in cyhydedd naw ban.
Remember that the syllable counts critically refer to how the poem will sound so it’s advised to always prioritize this, even if it means defying the grammatical syllable count in rare cases.
As an isosyllabic form, a cyhydedd naw ban has an intrinsic feeling of structural unity to it.
Gray skies that threaten to bring the rain
cause me no grief nor heartbreak nor pain.
For wherever the bright sun may go,
it shall always return. This much I know.
The second example is just to show how the number and spacing of the couplets can differ.
In this case the poem is only four lines, divided up into the individual couplets.
You can use the length of the poem and its individual stanzas to make the form appear more flexible, but it’s really just a superficial difference when it comes right down to it.
Tips for Writing Cyhydedd Naw Ban
Regardless of your level, this should be a relatively easy exercise.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most beginner-friendly poem forms out there for learning about syllable counts and rhyme schemes.
The length of the lines, at nine syllables, is long enough to comfortably set up the next end sound but short enough to where you don’t generally need to add too much padding to your phrases.
Nine syllables is also a perfect number for experimentation since there are many ways to break that up into individual words.
The rhyme scheme, while marginally more demanding than alternating rhyme, is reasonable for the student level as well.
If you have trouble with rhyme, start out by learning which words are easy and hard to rhyme with.
You can get a feel for this by simply choosing a random word and seeing how many words you can rhyme with it off the top of your head. (This functions as a sort of practice game that many poets play with themselves.)
As a starting point, words that end in vowel sounds or that feature a vowel followed immediately by one consonant sound tend to be among the easiest, i.e. go, cat, car, etc.
Shorter words are easier to memorize the rhymes for, but there are also common suffixes that can help with rhyming longer words. (-ing, -ation, -nal, etc.)
The name may look like something out of the Cthulhu mythos, but the actual form it represents is among the easiest you can potentially work with.
It’s a shame that English doesn’t have an obvious or common alternative since this really is an excellent form for new poets to use when learning the most basic of basic techniques.
If this article seems unusually chipper and optimistic, it’s because I wrote it immediately after two solid weeks of studying much, much more difficult Celtic verse forms.
Working on this one was like eating a chicken nugget after a few weeks of dieting.
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