Love truly pure
I love you, I always do, I promise
No, nothing can change that’s constant I swear
Come rain or shine
I will brave
First, let’s define a Tetractys. It sounds like the number 4 should play a significant role, but in my opinion, at least, the connection is a stretch at best. But we’ll go with it because the term has been around longer than you and me both.
The Tetractys was invented by British poet Ray Stebbing, but he didn’t invent the name. Euclid, the great Classical mathematician, believed that the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 must have some mystical significance because their sum was 10. He called this relationship a Tetractys. Thus, a Tetractys is four numbers whose sum is 10.
So what does that have to do with poetry? Well, Ray Stebbing learned about Euclid’s Tetractys and decided to use it to create a new stanza of five lines with a syllabic count of 1-2-3-4-10. He further stated that each time an additional set of five lines is added, the syllabic count is to be reversed.
Thus a Double Tetractys (the object of our study today) would have a syllabic count of 1-2-3-4-10-10-4-3-2-1.
A Triple Tetractys would look like 1-2-3-4-10-10-4-3-2-1-1-2-3-4-10, and so forth. As you can see, like the Etheree, the Tetractys may also be reversed.
Mr. Stebbing hoped the Tetractys would catch on and become Britain’s answer to the Japanese Haiku. Of this form, he said, “Its challenge is to express a complete thought, profound or comic, witty or wise, within the narrow compass of twenty syllables.”
So in summary, the Double Tetractys is
A decastitch (10-line stanza) with an emphasis on the syllabic count of each line.Syllabic count: 1-2-3-4-10-10-4-3-2-1It should express a complete thought and maybe on any theme and express any mood. Rhyme is optional.
It’s Your Turn!
Now it’s time for you to write a Double Tetractys. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Choose a topic. It can be anything. If you’re struggling for an idea, you might consider the Daily Prompts from The Daily PostDON’T worry about rhyme, as it’s not necessary here.DO keep a handle on the syllable count for each line. Try to avoid filler words. Instead, use a thesaurus to find precise words that give you the right syllable count for each line. Don’t be afraid to break a word if need be, but avoid it if possible. Or perhaps you may want to go crazy with word breaks, to enhance a humorous mood. And of course, when you are finished, share your poem with the rest of us.
Don’t know how? Follow these simple steps…
Write your blog post. Include the tag Decastich Challenge or 10LPCInclude a pingback/link to this post in your post so I can find you. Publish your post.