10-line Poem Challenge #5: Gardenia

The Gardenia was created by Viola Gardner to be used as a teaching tool or learning exercise.

The Gardenia is a:

  • Decastich made of 5 couplets.
  • Focuses on the amphibrach, a stress pattern of soft-strong-soft [i.e. to-MA-to]
  • Meter: amphibraic dimeter. But although each line has only two feet, it has six syllables, since the amphibrach is made of three syllables.
  • Rhyme scheme: aabbccddee


Below are two samples for you. It seems to me that this form lends itself to a jovial mood by its very nature. However, I tested the waters with my second sample, trying it out with a more serious tone. Does it fit? Let me know what you think.

Union Meeting

You aides and assistants,
Please lend me assistance
In taking attendance
Of all the attendants
Of this fine convention
To ease the contention
And bring to conclusion
The utter confusion
Abetting enjoyment
Of our fair employment.

© 2017 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

To My Son

If you heed instruction
And make wise deduction
While yet in your prime, then
I know in due time when
The battle is strongest
And dark night is longest,
You’ll come out successful,
Though it might seem stressful.
There’s more to life’s treasure
Than moments of pleasure.

© 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 Gardenia. Either keep it light like the form seems to suggest, or follow my second example and take a more serious tone. 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.

6 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #5: Gardenia”

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