Login Name      Password  (forgotten?)     Sign Up Free!
Share your poetry with our community.
Home Poetry Features Poetry Competitions News Contact Us About Us
Poetry Competitions UK
14 Jun 2011

How to Write a Tetractys

The tetractys, made famous by Pythagoras, was created into a modern-day poetic form by Ray Stebbings. A tetractys should express a complete thought, profound, witty or wise using 20 syllables. There is no limit to the number of verses. Rhyming is optional.

A tetractys' structure is:

  • Line 1 has 1 syllable
  • Line 2 has 2 syllables
  • Line 3 has 3 syllables
  • Line 4 has 4 syllables
  • Line 5 has 10 syllables

Here is an example:

It's
Better
To love than
To hate and it's
Better still to agree with what she says.

A double tetractys' can be written in two ways. Option one's structure is:

  • Line 1 has 1 syllable
  • Line 2 has 2 syllables
  • Line 3 has 3 syllables
  • Line 4 has 4 syllables
  • Line 5 has 10 syllables
  • Line 6 has 10 syllable
  • Line 7 has 4 syllables
  • Line 8 has 3 syllables
  • Line 9 has 2 syllables
  • Line 10 has 1 syllable

Here is an example by Ray Stebbings:

Campanile

Life
depends
on a strand
as frail as fine
as a migrating spider's silken line.
As windblown, random, as subject to chance,
our short days drift -
on thin threads
helpless
dance.

Alternatively, you can write your double tetractys in the following way:

  • Line 1 has 1 syllable
  • Line 2 has 2 syllables
  • Line 3 has 3 syllables
  • Line 4 has 4 syllables
  • Line 5 has 10 syllables
  • Line 6 has 1 syllable
  • Line 7 has 2 syllables
  • Line 8 has 3 syllables
  • Line 9 has 4 syllables
  • Line 10 has 10 syllables

Here is an example by Ray Stebbings:

Epitaph for Everyman

He lived a long life filled with good intent
but often found
his meanings
sadly
bent.
With misconceptions hapless lives are fraught,
what others hear
so seldom
matches
thought.

You can also try your hand at a reversed tetractys and its structure is:

  • Line 1 has 10 syllables
  • Line 2 has 4 syllables
  • Line 3 has 3 syllables
  • Line 4 has 2 syllables
  • Line 5 has 1 syllables

Here is an example:

How Ironic

Young, free and single, was quite hard to be,
If only we
Knew then what
We know
Now.

Once you've written your poem, why not send it to us -  Forward Poetry, Remus House, Coltsfoot Drive, Peterborough PE2 9JX. Alternatively, you can upload your poem or email it to us inbox@forwardpoetry.co.uk.

Poetry Competitions

More details...

Forward Poetry Social

What's New

Poetry news...
 
Tel: 01733 890099    Email: inbox@forwardpoetry.co.uk


Forward Poetry's ethos has always been to act as a bridge to publication rather than a barrier. This, along with our passion for poetry and creative writing, has seen a humble family business evolve into the biggest publisher of new poetry in the world. We understand that poetry is subjective, that everyone writes in a different style and that what one person can love, another can hate! Our collections showcase a variety of themes, writing styles and poets from all walks of life. They are carefully edited and compiled to celebrate and complement the craft that all of our contributors enjoy poetry.

Read more...








Forward Poetry, Remus House, Coltsfoot Drive, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9BF

Home | News | About Us | Poetry Competitions | Winners | Workshops | Upload Entry | Events | Publication Timeline | Meet the Poets | Poet Publish | Contact Us

Bonacia Ltd is a Limited Liability company incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 05368980. Our VAT registration number is 102781343. Our site uses cookies to store information. By viewing this site, you agree to our Cookie Policy and Terms & Conditions.

© Forward Poetry - Poetry Publishers UK