10-line Poem Challenge #3: Sacred Signia

Decastich. Is this term in your working vocabulary yet? Simply put, it is a 10-line poem. We have previously looked at two other specific decastich forms, the San Hsien and the Quinnette.

Today let’s try our hand at the Sacred Signia.

The Sacred Signia is a:

  • Decastich written in iambic rhythm.
  • Created by Viola Berg as a teaching tool or writing exercise.
  • Lines 1,3,5,7-10 are in iambic pentameter.
  • Lines 2,4,6 are in iambic dimeter.
  • Rhyme scheme: ababcbccaa


Below are two samples for you. Both of them are about a woman who aspires to be a writer. In the first, she hides underground but is energized by the encouragement of friends, whose voices echo throughout the caverns of her mind. In the second poem, she is in the woods, in her favorite quiet place, which she fondly calls her “thoughtful spot,” based on her recollections of Winnie the Pooh’s adventures. Saturday’s poem will continue the theme with her eye’s fixed on the stars.

Sacred Signia can be written on any topic. I chose to write about writing in a nature setting because these things were on my mind at the time.

Choral Caverns

For years miscarried were her plans to write.
Unsure, she tarried with no plan in sight.
Till sickened by a fear of the unknown.
Then clarity.
Now quickened, knowing she was not alone,
The wall of indecision overthrown
By sounds of varied voices stalactite
Whose praises carried echoes of delight.

September 15, 2017
© 2017 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

Metaphor Net

The forest glen her new repose for thought
A sunny view
When there she found herself, all else forgot,
Or little knew.
A whole new world of words awaited her—
She would pursue.
Enthralled, among the languages to stir
Through thoughts and phrases fresh, a wanderer,
Equipped with literary tools, she caught
Fine samples all around her thoughtful spot.

September 16, 2017
© 2017 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


Dig Deeper

To find more samples and to learn from those who taught me, check out these sites. All links open in a separate tab so you can easily find your way back here.

Poet’s Collective ~ The forms on this website are not organized in alphabetical order, but he does have at least one sample poem for each form, he even has tags for rhyme scheme. He also has a visual template for every form so you can see the rhyme scheme and stress patterns, as applicable. That is extremely helpful.

Sol Magazine ~ This resource covers much more than just 10-line poems.

“Metric Forms from Pathways for the Poet” ~ This is an outline of information from Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg (1977), a book for and by educators. This resource also includes more than just 10-line poems, but it helped to fill in the gaps where my other sources were a bit scanty with their information.

Shadow Poetry ~ This is my favorite resource for learning about poetic forms (and not just the decastich), but I have discovered that there is ever so much more to learn than what I can find here. This is, however, a very good place to start.


It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a San Hsien. Go ahead and strum those strings! Then when you are ready, share your masterpiece with the rest of us.

Don’t know how? Follow these simple steps…

  1. Write your blog post.
  2. Optional: Include the tag Decastich Challenge
  3. Include a link to this post in your post so I can find you.
  4. Publish your post.

4 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #3: Sacred Signia”

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