Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday ~ Tetractys

Greek Geometric Art


Tetractys, a poetic form invented by Ray Stebbing, consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit with an inverted syllable count.

Double Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1


Triple Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10


and so on.

Statue of Euclid at Oxford


"Euclid, the mathematician of classical times, considered the number series 1, 2, 3, 4 to have mystical significance because its sum is 10, so he dignified it with a name of its own - Tetractys. 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


freedom


free
from you
your ego
your blaming me
i am a free spirit who has no past

Copyright © 2001 Terri Anthony




Here follows a small taste of Euclidian geometry:


Bridge of Asses: A=B, C=D



The Bridge of Asses (Pons Asinorum) states that in isosceles triangles, the angles at the base equal one another, and, if the equal straight lines are produced further, then the angles under the base equal one another. Its name may be attributed to its frequent role as the first real test in the Elements of the intelligence of the reader and as a bridge to the harder propositions that followed. It might also be so named because of the geometrical figure's resemblance to a steep bridge that only a sure-footed donkey could cross.


How could I resist the poetic possibilities of this premise? Thus, the challenge provides two possible responses: those who love form may get to grips with the Tetractys, and those who do not, may write in free verse to the "Bridge of Asses" theme, in whatever way you choose to interpret it.  Above all, have fun.

The Sunday Challenge is posted on Saturday at noon CST to allow extra time for the form challenge. Management reserves the right to remove unrelated links, but invites you to share a poem of your choice on Open Link Monday.


25 comments:

Mama Zen said...

I'm pretty sure I write to some variation of the Bridge of Asses theme every day!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Haha! Don't you love it?

Mary Mansfield said...

What a fun poetic form! Really enjoyed this...may have to address the Bridge of Asses at a later date just for entertainment purposes :)

Heaven said...

I have been busy at work so I missed out on the other prompts ~ Will try to link up on OLN ~

Thanks for the form challenge Kerry ~

Happy day to everyone ~

hedgewitch said...

Of course, I love the form--or at least I do now, before actually having to try and see if I can write anything in it. ;_) Also, I have made bridges for asses way too many times in my working life, so that's fun too. Off to see how many prompt ideas I can melt in this crucible.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh did I LOVE writing about the Bridge of Asses. Maybe too much!

Fireblossom said...

Bridge of Asses.

~snort!~

Hannah said...

Oh, I like this, Kerry!! It sort of reminds me of the fib only because of its' appearance. Worked just right for what I wanted to write about, I think.

Thank you and a happy weekend to everyone!

Andy David said...

Dear Hannah,
I must admit I had a good laugh over this and yes, thought it was well written. Thanks for sharing.

Margaret said...

Math has no business in poetry :) and so I took the "easy way out" and stuck to form for a change. ha

Thanks, Kerry.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I always tell my students that poetry is like geometry: you have to solve a whole lot of angles before you get to the one the question is after. You can never look at only one portion of the picture - it's about the whole.

Kay L. Davies said...

Ooh, I see there are a dozen people ahead of me, but I do want to try the Tetractys. Will try tomorrow, oops, today as it is 1:25am already. Good night, toads, and let's all get Tetractible.
K

Gemma Wiseman said...

I dared to try the form! Think I tried it once a long time ago! Time for a refresher!

Kerry O'Connor said...

My second post today is less about poetry, and more about the rhino poaching crisis we are facing in South Africa, and , hence, in the world. I don't know if creating awareness can help, but I add my own single cry of outrage to those of others today.

carolisle said...

Can't wait to try this form

De Jackson (WhimsyGizmo) said...

Love the Fibonacci, so this appeals to me greatly. Thank you!

Marian said...

love this form, thank you, Kerry.

Fireblossom said...

Thank you, Kerry, for the picture idea.

haikulovesongs said...

i would love to do the bridge of asses!!! soooo cool! not enough time so did a tetractys ~ love new-to-me forms! thanks, Kerry!

Ella said...

Thank you Kerry! I really enjoyed this challenge~ :D

PattiKen said...

I'm terribly late, as usual. I really enjoyed playing with this form, which is totally new to me. Thanks, Kerry.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Patti, your link here goes to a Carry on Tuesday poem. I found your tetractys by going to your latest post: Happiness Salad. Thanks for participating.

Carol Carlisle said...

I did it I am proud of my post. thanks for the inspiration.

Judy Roney said...

I wrote it but forgot to post. Here tis! :)

turtlememoir said...

Late, but here it is (and sorry I haven't been around much - life and an ongoing thing with my computer...)