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, June 9, 2018

Fussy Little Forms: Tetractys

Hello, dear friends! Let’s try a simple and elegant form this weekend that may allow us to focus on balance. I could use some more balance in my life, how about you? Our form today is the TETRACTYS

The tetractys is a five-line poem with 20 total syllables, in a lovely and balanced arrangement, like this: 1--2--3--4--10 

So the first four lines together have ten syllables and the last line has ten syllables. Nice! 

If you like longer poems, you can extend the tetractys: 
1--2--3--4--10--10--4--3--2--1 (double) 
1--2--3--4--10--10--4--3--2--1--1--2--3--4--10 (triple) 
...and so on, as you wish. 

The tetractys was invented by Ray Stebbings, who says this about the form: “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.” 

Here is a lovely example, “With Pen” by Heather Burns: 

Pen
in hand 
I place nib 
upon your face 
looking at blank paper, I write my poem. 
         © Heather Burns 

If this form seems familiar, Kerry introduced tetractys in the Garden back in 2012: TETRACTYS 

So, let’s go! 1--2--3--4--10!




21 comments:

Margaret said...

Good morning Toads!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Happy Weekend everyone!💞☕

Kerry O'Connor said...

Ah, yes.. I had forgotten this nifty little form!

Thanks, Marian.

brudberg said...

Nice... will be back with something a bit later today. A wonderful summer here in Sweden, but we do need rain.

Jim said...

Looks like fun, thank you Marian. We've been in Baton Rouge (Louisiana) this week and I've been writing with my old hand-me-down Android smart phone.
BTW it uses "Collins Dictionary" which does not know "tetractys". Meaning I may wait until Tuesday to finish mine.
..

Marian said...

Hi, Friends!
This is such a fun form, it's one of those that can be addictive if you're in the mood. So hey, feel free to share as many times as you like! I promise to read them all.
I'll be back around later today and/or tomorrow to read your entries and share my own. Have fun and hope everyone is enjoying the weekend so far.
xo Marian

rallentanda said...

Yep....you're right. It's addictive.

Sophia DiNola said...

Hello, I am new. I have enjoyed reading the poetry and prompts here for a while, and so I decided to try one. Thanks for posting such interesting prompts. :)

Linda Lee Lyberg said...

Thanks for the interesting prompt!

willow_switches said...

thanks for hosting Marian - indeed, a weird, but interesting and addictive form - I kind of played with this in all kinds of ways, serious to silly - thankfully, didn't have to use my toes to count off .... LOL -

have a great weekend everyone!

willow_switches said...

Hi Sophia and welcome to the Garden. We're glad to meet you. So please, slip in and share your words and wander about to meet the others. I'm sure you'll find it an interesting community.

Toni Spencer said...

Thankyou for this form. It is interesting! I con't think it will replace good proper classic Japanese haiku but, it is interesting.

Kim Russell said...

Good morning Toads! I've just got back from an exam conference and am so grateful for this fussy little form challenge. Over the next three weeks or so I will be be in the thick of marking and may not be able to write or post much poetry.

brudberg said...

Hello all... I realized that I had made my double a little wrong so I added a second 10 syllable line

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Bjorn; It's lovely!💞☕

Marian said...

Good morning, friends! Such lovely poems written in this form, I admire them all.

I just added Rosemary's link at her request and wanted to let you all know that for some reason she cannot click on any of the links in this prompt. She said the entire post is greyed out and inaccessible. Sheesh! C'mon, Blogger. Just this weekend I realized I'm no longer getting emails when I get comments on my blog. You all too?

brudberg said...

@Rosemary I had exactly the same problem and it's tied to the browser. Actually I just cleaned the cookies and history in the browser (I use chrome) and then it worked again. Strangely enough it was only on toads this happened.

willow_switches said...

Marian it is a Blogger "glitch" that they are supposedly trying to fix - this non notification of comments etc. Another loop to jump through as we're like wrestling with all these "new" pop-ups etc. (E.U. policies/cookies). It seems Blogger is making some "updates" to their platform etc. so I'm guessing it's messing with some other things. Hopefully they'll get it sorted out sooner than later.

Bjorn The whole "grey glitch" thing doesn't surprise me either. Since Google has a hand in so much, and since Google owns Chrome and Blogger, I'm guessing it has a right mess of all kinds of whatever techie going on, especially since the whole "E.U." thingy etc. It seems things have been going strange/haywire - since a few weeks before then. Let's just all hope they can get stuff "sorted" so we all can get back to business as usual.

brudberg said...

Had to post a second before going to bed. I used my blogger account this time.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Thanks everyone. I find I can get access using my tablet. Yes, Bjorn, I was using Chrome and will try your suggestions later. Funnily enough am using Chrome on tablet too. I have a busy day ahead now, but will be reading your poems this evening.

brudberg said...

Rosemary, I had the same experience... as a matter of fact I didn't get the grey thing from another computer, and I didn't get it in another browser in the same computer either.