10-line Poem Challenge #17: Etheree

Before diving into today’s new study, please take a minute or two to read this Double Five poem….

When you have finished reading the poem linked above, be sure to come back here to learn about a new decastich, the Etheree.

The Etheree was created by Etheree Taylor Armstrong. Some folks call it the “Count Up,” but I think the name Etheree sounds far more impressive. What about you?

So what is an Etheree?

  • It is a decastitch (10-line stanza) with an emphasis on the syllabic count of each line.
  • Syllabic count: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • It is unrhymed.
  • Additional etherees may be added, but each time the order must be reversed. And obviously, the addition of other stanzas would disqualify the Etheree from being counted as a decastich, so we won’t do that here, but you are welcome to add other stanzas to your Etheree, if you like. I have already written a few double Etherees, one of which recently went to a publisher (fingers crossed!).


Below are two samples for you. Neither is terribly deep, although on the surface they may appear to be. The second one is thoughtful. The first one may make you laugh, or at least smile. I was actually writing with a red mechanical pencil, and the poem just kind of evolved. It needs revision, but it’ll work for a sample. As for the second poem, I am not entirely sure whether mint and snow would be present at the same time, though I doubt it. Perhaps if the snow came unseasonably early…. Hopefully it will not destroy the analogy to juxtapose the two…. But I digress.

Red Pencil

writes as well
as blue or green
so why I prefer
red is quite beyond me.
They all tell the same story
yet I dread to use the others.
If only my head could comprehend:
you can’t see color in a tale that’s read.

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

Mountains and Valleys

The mountain’s
Lofty summit
Air is light and thin
Refreshing, cool and clean
Like a bright green sprig of mint
Poking through the new-fallen snow.
Euphoric sunshine awaits me there—
Yet in valley’s shade is where I find peace.

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write an Etheree. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Choose a topic. It can be anything. If you’re struggling for an idea, you might consider the Daily Prompts from The Daily Post
  2. DON’T worry about rhyme, as it’s not necessary here.
  3. DO keep a handle on the syllable count for each line.
  4. And of course, when you are finished, share your poem with the rest of us.

Don’t know how? Follow these simple steps…

  1. Write your blog post.
  2. Include the tag Decastich Challenge or 10LPC
  3. Include a pingback/link to this post in your post so I can find you.
  4. Publish your post.

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.


11 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #17: Etheree”

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