10-line Poem Challenge #18: Reversed Etheree

This week I dug a little deeper and found a good many Etherees (and a few Double Etherees) to share with you in addition to those who participated in the challenge. Enjoy!

When you have finished checking out the poems linked above, be sure to come back here to learn about a new decastich, the Reversed Etheree.

The Reversed Etheree is also called an Inverted Etheree or a Count Down. I’m not sure who is responsible for reversing the Etheree. I gave it a week of its own simply because I found it listed separately from the Etheree; however, for my own purposes I do classify it together with the Etheree as a mere variation, not a separate form. In fact, I’ve also written quite a few double Etherees and Double Reversed Etherees. I’ll only briefly discuss those here because, obviously, they are not decastich poems.

So what is a Reversed Etheree/Inverted Etheree/Count Down?

  • Like the Etheree, it is a decastitch (10-line stanza) with an emphasis on the syllabic count of each line.
  • The only difference is that the syllabic count is reversed: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
  • It is unrhymed.
  • Additional stanzas may be added, and with each stanza, the order must be reversed, just as with the Etheree. And obviously, the addition of other stanzas would disqualify the Reversed Etheree from being counted as a decastich, so we won’t do that here, but you are welcome to add other stanzas to your poem, if you so choose. I have already written a few double Reversed Etherees. In fact, the first Reversed Etheree I wrote for this tutorial didn’t seem quite finished, so I added a stanza to complete the thought. Granted, I ended up saving that one for another use, so you won’t see it here.


Below are two samples for you. The first one is rather dark, but the second one leaves us on a less morbid note. I do believe this form lends itself to a somber setting, although it does not necessarily have to go that route. As already stated, my first sample is melancholy, but the second one is peaceful and serene. I have also used this form to describe the union between a man and woman. See if you can discern how the diminishing of the line lengths helps to convey the message of the poem in the follow examples.

Light Goes Dark

Sometimes troubles come and faith is shaken
We lose sight of the source of our strength
Anchor slips away from the rock
Leaving us to float adrift
Upon the stormy sea
Alone, weak, frightened
Lost without hope
And then the
Light goes

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


After the tempest on the raging sea
After the storm clouds have rolled away
And mighty winds have ceased to blow
After whitecaps lose their foam
And the sunlight breaks through
Then comes a stillness

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a Reversed 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. Try to avoid filler words. Instead, use a thesaurus to find precise words that give you the right syllable count for each line.
  5. 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.


15 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #18: Reversed Etheree”

      1. Yes, I saw it was there, but I wanted to work up the list of notifications. 🙂 I’ve read it now, and let me say you wowed me with the last two lines especially! Such insight into the human heart coupled with hope.

        Liked by 1 person

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