Passion For Poetry


Sometimes I'm really in the mood for a syllabic poetry form and this is one of those times. The Tetractys is a syllabic poetic form invented by Ray Stebbing. It differs from the Nonet and the Rictameter in that they have regular increases or decreases while the Tetractys increases one syllable per line until the fifth line where it increases to ten.

The Tetractys consists of at least 5 lines with a syllable count of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10. You don't need to limit yourself to a single verse, you can have as many as you wish following the 5 line format. It can also be reverse and written as 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.

You might also want to try the Double Tetractys:
1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1
the triple Tetractys:
1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10
or continue as long as you wish keeping to this pattern.

Writing a Tetractys is not simply a matter of writing a line of 20 syllables and then breaking them down into the form. Line breaks should make sense and you should never continue a multi-syllable word on the next line. The poem should appeal to both the ear and the eye.

The tetractys could be Britain's answer to the haiku. Its challenge is to express a complete thought, profound or comic, witty or wise, within the narrow compass of twenty syllables ~ Ray Stebbing

I quite liked this form and I did both a single and a double Tetractys for my example.

the coming storm
batten down the hatches and wait in fear

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

is the
lady of
the dead calm lake
where Bedivere once threw Excalibre
at the request of his beloved king
while she kept watch
and time passed

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