Clogyrnach pictureGirl Before a Mirror – Pablo Picasso, March 1932, MoMA – The Collection

This week we will be penning the Welsh form known as Clogyrnach (pronounced clog-ir-nach.)

This form is really a fun challenge, especially for those of you who like limericks, 5/7/5 Haiku or short form poetic forms.  It can lend itself easily to light verse (obviously), but the Clogyrnach can also be inspired and lovely with more serious themes as well.  And, just so you know, you can make it longer, by simply writing more stanzas.  Finally, if you like to make use of enjambment, this is a form where it really can work quite well.

Per Shakespeare’s Monkeys (

The clogyrnach is a Welsh six-line stanza form — it can either be a single stanza poem or you can join them together to make something much longer.

There are only two rhymes per stanza (though if you’re making a longer poem, you can change rhymes as long as it’s the same pattern).  The lines have a syllable count of 8-8-5-5-3-3, and the rhyme scheme is a-a-b-b-b-a — technically, it looks like this:

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x b
x x b
x x a

If you want to, you can actually join the last two lines together to make one six-syllable line, but it’s important to keep the rhymes in the same place, so if you do that your last line will have the b rhyme in the middle:

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x b
x x x x b
x x b x x a

And that’s it.

Here are a couple of examples by yours truly:

A Matter of Opinion

“It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.” ~Nikolai Gogol

 O Mirror, Mirror on the wall,
I do not like your view at all.
You say there’s no trace
of a pretty face?!
Way off base…
I’m fair, y’all.


Break for Brakes

 “When you step on the brakes your life is in your foot’s hands.” ~George Carlin

 When stomping on your brakes, it’s true,
your car does what you tell it to.
Inertia laws mean
your driving machine
halts the scene
on shoe cue.


Now, (speaking of breaks and brakes) I know there are a few of you out there who like to break the rules.  Right?  Of course, right.  So, for the non-purists among us, here’s an example of rule breaking where the syllabics actually remain the same, but the rhyme scheme is different (in this case, aabbcc.)  And while not a true Clogyrnach because of the change-up, the following poem is a reasonably close facsimile, which some may find a scosh easier to write.  Either way, the idea here is to use your creativity and have a swell time!

Holding My Breath

 “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

I think I’ve held my breath too long
This line denotes my pen’s torch song.
When under water
is it for naught, or
‘til my death
are words breath?


And on that note… Ready, set…start poeming! ~RJ



Knock knock.  Who’s there?  Clogyrnach.  Who?
Knock knock Clogyrnach, where are you?
Knock knock, weirdly stalked
Keep your front door locked.
Verb?  Who knew?

© copyright 2010, Marie Elena Good

… and while you’re poeming, you might want to check out Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides prompt for today:  Write an illusion poem.


  1. She’s Her Own Enemy

    She looks critically at her frame
    Reflected, taking careful aim,
    Wounding with her own thoughts;
    Cause the most painful shot
    Are begun
    On self’s tongue.

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

    I’m sorry, I just had to use the aabbcc version. It seems so much more natural to me. 🙂

  2. RJ, I love both of yours! You are awesome, as usual. 😀

    Marie, that is hysterical! I don’t go in much for funny poems, but you had me laughing. Well done both of you! ❤

  3. Hmmmm….. this form may be harder than it looks, but your examples, RJ and Marie, make it seem like duck soup.

  4. I hate to bend the rules a little, too. If anyone can help with that 5th line I’ll be happy.

    September Blues
    Where did the lovely summer go?
    I look here, there, search high and low
    cause I recall those
    nippy nights that froze
    my nose and

  5. As Summer Ends

    Let the balloons sail me away
    Over the trees on this crisp day
    Colors of aspen,
    a song from a wren
    Guide my pen,
    on this day.

    • Thank you, so much friends, I was so inspired by the last line of Sharon Ingram’s poem: “What to Put In, What to Leave Out”, and my imagination just sailed away… 😀 (RJ – I have always wanted to attend the big Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico… perhaps one day… 🙂 !!)

      • You should totally go! I heard that the NM Festival is awesome!

        I’ve been going nearly every year (for more than 20 years now) to the NJ Festival of Ballooning. And let me tell you – it’s great.

        Warning – longish story to follow…

        About 8 years ago, after getting the go-ahead from a ballooning magazine to cover the event, I got my credentials in order to obtain a press pass. My plan? When I got to the fair, I thought I’d go on the balloon field and interview pilots, crew and passengers for their take on the NJ Festival of Ballooning.

        Instead, the organizers asked me if I wanted to fly. With the Children’s Miracle Network, if you can believe it!

        Now, I have to tell you – I am so scared of/loathe flying even ‘though (ready for this???) I gave my hubby his first private pilots’ license lesson years ago – knowing full well I’d have to fly in a ‘tiny teacup in the sky’ (meaning Cessna 152s and 172s) at some future date. Which, btw, has already happened. Many times over now.

        Anyway, I was stunned so before I could actually think about what I would be doing, I said yes. To my utter amazement, it turned out to be one of the coolest experiences ever. Very gentle and just breathtaking.

        After my flight, the crew gave me a pin for First Flight (a tradition) – and then they invited me to come with them to crew the next morning. Of course I accepted!

        As it happened, the passenger for my 1st crewing adventure was a sick kid (Children’s Miracle Network!) whose birthday occurred during the summer around the time of the festival. This young fellow was supposed to have flown in the past but had gotten so sick (and nearly died) and in the end, he never did take a flight, ‘though that had always been his heart’s desire for most of his life.

        But, he was doing well-enough on that particular summer morning, so the CMN and the event organizers asked him if he was up to it healthwise – and he said yes. He asked if he could bring a friend (a girl who also had the same disease, but was doing better at the time) and they readily agreed to this too.

        So, we (meaning the crew and I) did all the prep work for the launch, and then when it was time, the boy and his friend climbed into the basket with the pilot (a 3rd generation balloon pilot) and then they ascended. And as they did, as they rose above the earth, I saw a look on that boy’s face that I will never forget as long as I live. It was pure joy. (Oh gosh! I always get misty when I come to this part of the story!)

        Anyway, they had a wonderful time. And as icing on the cake for them, they won the Hare & Hounds competition. And I had a brilliant time crewing with a lively fun crew.

        And the upshot of the story beyond all this good stuff? Between getting the okay for the story and when the festival actually occurred was about 4 months. In that time, the magazine changed editors – and the new editor nixed my stuff and never ran my stories/never used my photographs.

        But aside that little bit of frustration and disappointment – it still was one of the coolest experiences of my life – and it helps to explain why I love hot air balloons so much!

        Okay – now back to poeming! 😀

        • Oh, RJ… (TEARS for the child’s joy!) You have penned such a Beautiful response… I am so very Honored that you took the time from your busy schedule to share this with us… I LOVE that sweet story and I wish that the magazine had run the story and pics… but, like the Amazing “teacher” that you are, you handled the situation in a way that is a Wonderful lesson for all of us… This Garden is such an awesome place for sharing and learning!! Thank you!! ❤ 🙂 !!

        • RJ, I’ve been busy, snatching a few minutes here and there to check on the site, and only now am seeing your story. It is wonderfully told, with an ease and grace that I admire. Flight has always appealed to me, so I can well imagine the look of joy on that kid’s face. One of my favorite poems is John Gillespie Magee’s High Flight, which, if you don’t know it already, you might like to read.

          • Oh, I have heard this poem… It is so good to read some of the author’s biography!! Thank you, William!

  6. Dish Soap

    There once was a man named Big John
    Of all of the things to go wrong
    One day in his truck
    He got good and stuck
    Was, with luck, freed by Dawn


    Learning with a detective troupe,
    they taught me how to sneak and snoop.
    It made me queasy;
    they said, it’s easy,
    not sleazy,
    pure duck soup.

    copyright 2013, William Preston


    While on a trip I chanced to see
    a spectacle that gladdened me.
    An old man was in
    a rusty old tin:
    a tall, thin
    Model T.

    He had stopped, in front of a bank,
    because the old car made a clank.
    I asked of the year;
    he seemed not to hear
    and, I fear,
    had to crank.

    copyright 2013, William Preston


    Once, an old pilot named Howie
    flew to the island of Maui.
    He landed in rain;
    his rickety plane
    caused a painful owie.

    copyright 2013, William Preston


    He worked and worked for years and years
    but yet his purse was in arrears;
    enmeshed in last place,
    he ended life’s race
    in disgrace
    and in tears.

    copyright 2013, William Preston

    (A clogyrnach Poem)

    Box lunch prepared, we hike the hills
    dotted with marigolds so still
    we think they’re asleep
    in their green beds, deep
    in woods steep with sun spill.

    Ham sandwiches on wheat bread, stacked
    tight beside pop cooled with ice packs,
    entice us to rest.
    “Let’s eat,” you suggest.
    Our food blessed, we both snack.

    High in trees sweet bird songs abound
    as we share our meal on the ground.
    How peaceful is this!
    Like heaven. Such bliss
    We have found that we kiss.

    Stomachs full, we resume the climb
    uphill while it is still daytime.
    Now we feel weary;
    gray shadows, eerie.
    It’s nearly dinnertime.


  12. Optical Illusion

    “There is an optical illusion about every person we meet.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Behind the façade is a face
    Like Tuesday’s child, it’s full of grace.
    You’re hard wired for that:
    the way you look at
    each small trace.

  13. Balancing Act

    “An illusion which makes me happy is worth a verity which drags me to the ground.” ~Christopher Martin-Wieland

    This philosophical tightrope
    favors the potential of hope
    so that I ensconce
    mostly joy; no wants.
    I can cope.


  14. “A poetry primer”

    A poet needs to know two things
    before revealing true feelings:
    Should you write as You?
    Write another view?
    Here’s your clue—
    Genius sings.

    (Gosh, I wish it were that easy!)

  15. Hold

    Locked and loaded, holding steady
    Flanked by patriots at ready
    Freedom in decline
    Freedom on the line
    Yours and mine
    Hold steady

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  16. Kisses

    Dusted, buffed, to a shiny gold
    On her mantle, displayed so bold
    Lip marks smudge the pot
    Missing him a lot
    All she’s got
    Ashes cold

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  17. Unknown Roads

    “Facts which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty.” ~ Galileo Galilei

    Veils of mist hide what is coming
    my blood picks up the pace, drumming.
    Are you there for me?
    I will set you free,
    just live, be…

  18. Luna

    “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” ~ Buddha

    Eventually, I will find you
    as you hide and play peek-a-boo,
    I quietly wait
    for this, our first date.
    It is late.
    Oh, you grew!

    You light up any room you enter,
    your presence sets the feeling, tenor.
    You sooth my sad soul
    gazing from the knoll,
    let us stroll.
    My center.

  19. Christmas

    Hi-dee-hee, hi-dee-ho-ho-ho
    Just a couple more months to go
    We’ll put up the lights
    Leave them on all night
    Feels so right
    Don’t you know

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  20. Past By

    His mind drifts back to days gone by
    Memories bring tears to his eyes
    Ninety years have past
    Ninety went by fast
    Far too fast
    They flew by

    © 2013 Earl Parsons

  21. Herbal

    Summer pastures have grown so deep
    that deer and ground hogs circle, reap
    pressed-down feather beds
    of dried flower heads;
    floral meds
    induce sleep.

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  23. May I Have This Dance?
    These days spill milk-weed filament,
    amber-lit fluff floats commitment;
    it’s autumn’s promise.
    A brilliant temptress
    in white dress,
    she is sent-
    carried miles
    on the wind.
    Tattered skirts won’t mend-
    torn by thorn she’ll blend,
    become one, in blackberry style;
    soon seed will drop and wait awhile.
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

  24. The Brat

    My feline loves all confection—
    and demands I make exception.
    With ingratitude
    of her cat-itude,
    she is rude
    to poke fun.

    She has this obsession for sweets,
    and how they are only for treats.
    But just between us,
    no ifs, ands or but,
    sour puss
    beats the streets.

    Ellen Knight 9.18.13
    write a clogynach for Poet Bloomings

  25. Autumn Winds

    A wind, strewn with leaves, circles me,
    Whispers rattling through the trees,
    Introducing fall
    With a chilly scrawl,
    Taking all
    Warmth from me…

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

  26. Beauty of Fall

    With new season comes new beauty,
    Warm weather replaced with cloudy,
    New colors unfold –
    Red and orange bold,
    Green turns gold:
    New beauty.

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013


    At advent of crisp autumn day,
    the wind whips high waves in the bay.
    Alone at the beach
    I let my mind teach,
    and heart reach
    for love’s way.

    Through clouds, I see the warm sun glance,
    then swaying with the waves I dance
    in the tide that climbs,
    covering past times,
    and heart finds
    one more chance.

  28. I used “single” twice, by mistake. I realize this is a “no-no” but the mistake might be fitting for the poem? Psychologically, the repetition is interesting, as I was writing with a sort of James’ Joyce
    unconscious train of thought, just letting the words flow. So, maybe I should just let it be, huh?

  29. thanks RJ for introducing this new form. like so many others I have truly enjoyed it and will be using this form as another means of expression and creativity.

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    When a clogyrnach uses rhyme,
    sometimes it approaches sublime.
    One should pursue it,
    not misconstrue it;
    lets do it
    one more time.


    Between the times he darned his socks,
    the clergyman wrote clogyrnachs:
    his rhymes would appall
    but he brought no small
    joy to all.
    The Rec rocks!

    copyright 2013, William Preston

  33. Exuberance!

    Life was zany, life was sweeter:
    running naked, life was fleeter!
    Sunning on the shore
    never was a bore
    Oh! to birth once more
    in that age
    where we rage!

    Clogynach: 8,8,5,5,3,3 rhyme: aabbba ( I know, I messed up the rhyme scheme, but like it anyway, another “as is” poem.

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