Taste of Winter in the Pathya Vat


Fae folk travel,
Long cold rambles,
Deep in brambles.
Winter berries
Feed some hungry
Hiding fairies,
Wanting cherries
Or sugarplums.

For those into poetry forms:

A Pathya Vat is a form of poetry originating in Cambodia. It can be of any length, but each verse is organized into 4 lines, each line having 4 syllables, with the middle two lines rhyming. In subsequent verses, the middle lines rhyme with the last line of the previous verse. My Pathya Vat is two verses, rhyming ABBC | DCCE.

The rhythm of my poem is the reverse of iambic rhythm, which is called trochee rhythm. The rhythm is stressed (or accented), unstressed (or unaccented), stressed, unstressed. Iambic would be unstressed, stressed, unstressed stressed. A 4 syllable line is called dimeter, because it has two “feet.” A foot is a grouping of two syllables. Iambic pentameter has 10 syllables (or 5 feet), with careful attention paid to the rhythm of the accents in the words, arrangedย unstressed, stressed, alternating.

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham

Articles on Pathya Vat, a Cambodian style of verse:


44 thoughts on “Taste of Winter in the Pathya Vat

  1. Pingback: Winter Harvest Ball | Friendly Fairy Tales
  2. Pingback: Quatrain for a Cooper’s Hawk | Fairy of Disenchantment
  3. Love this!! More Asian forms please, you’re so very good at them! (Well, you’re good at ALL of themโ€ฆ) ^_^ I’ve studied Chinese poetry for years but never thought to try writing a poem in a Chinese style using English wordsโ€ฆ (My favorite style, ci, sets the words to certain well-established folk tunes; many of them have no other name but “To the Tune of ‘Crows Call at Night'” for example. Sadly many of those old melodies have been forgotten but there are more modern ones that people continue to write ci to.) You continue to inspire me! Hugs — Sunshine


    • I’m so happy you like it. It was not easy to write, but very satisfying once it was finished. ๐Ÿ™‚ I look forward to seeing one of yours. ๐Ÿ™‚ Warmly, Brenda


  4. I like this one! ๐Ÿ˜€ Fairies wanting cherries or sugar plums sounds very amusing, and those berries do look like they could be fairy plumbs!!! That’s a lovely snowy picture by the way, the red berries really add some seasonal colour!


    • ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you liked this one! I enjoyed the rhyme and meter of this one, although the fewer words, the more effort seems to have become my rule of thumb. LOL


  5. It’s a wonderful poem, Brenda! Although you have given a clear description, I don’t think I can get it through my head. The last time someone explained the whole iambic pentameter thing to me, I gave up writing in disillusion, deciding that poetry was deliberately elitist. thankfully I’m a bit more resilient these days and quite content to enjoy what you have written and hold you in awe for knowing and understanding these things.


    • It’s like music. Some notes are softer, and some louder, right? A drum beat is often, da da da DA, da da da DA. Music lyrics have a rhythm, and can almost be sing-song. English is accented, with certain words having the emphasis at a certain syllable. Like “dingbat.” The emphasis is on the ding, and the bat is softer, DINGbat. Imagine it the other way, dingBAT. It doesn’t make any sense that way. So dingbat is stressed, unstressed. It is complicated, and I really avoid writing in Iambic Pentameter these days. Sonnets make my head hurt. Ah, but reading Shakespeare is like reading music. They really put the effort into the rhythm then… Don’t stop writing. You have rhythm in what you write. You don’t have to be aware of it to be using it.


      • Thanks for the encouragement Brenda, and strangely enough, I haven’t read Shakespeare. However rhythm is something I sense everywhere – in all life – and I often have a physical response to it. I now understand a great deal more because of your additional explanation. So thank you very much for taking the time. Where I think it lost me before is that people pronounce things differently, English is spoken in many ways around the world and the written word is not always experienced in the same way as the spoken word, therefore which aspect of words do we choose? In my own writing, I notice that lately I am focussed on long and short syllables as well as a little of stressed, unstressed (although I couldn’t have said so and I realise now they are aspects of the same thing) – I have been referring to it, in my mind, as rhythm – so music is the perfect analogy.


        • It’s all rhythm. The words are just so much jargon. You are right about the different ways English is spoken all over the world or even in different houses in the same neighborhood. I don’t worry about what other people are doing, I just worry about how I pronounce things. And go from there. I won’t end up in prison because my rhythm was based on the wrong pronunciation. Writer’s Prison!! We’d all be in trouble. ๐Ÿ˜‰

          If you read these lines out loud, they are so rhythmic:
          So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
          So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

          It’s the end of my favorite sonnet of Shakespeare:


    • LOL I had fun researching, and I thought I should put up what I learned so that I could remember it myself! I think I was asked to try writing a Pathya Vat on a haibun challenge around Thanksgiving, but didn’t have time for the research then. It did take me a long time!! It was fun to write, though a bit restrictive. Hope you are having a great week!


    • No need to read the fine print. That is for those poetry-mazed, word-intoxicated folk like myself. I know they are out there… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading, as usual. This time I was in the middle of adding a verse and accidentally hit publish instead of update!! First time doing that! Had to finish very fast! LOL Hugs, Brenda


Comments welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.