10-line Poem Challenge #19: Dectina Refrain

Before diving into today’s new study, please take a minute or two to read these lovely Reversed Etherees (with a few Double Reversed in the mix as well)….

Dectina Refrain

The Dectina Refrain looks exactly like an Etheree, but with one distinguishing characteristic, as we shall see. This form was created by Marion Friedenthal and named by Luke Prater.

  • Like the Etheree, it is a decastitch (10-line stanza) with an emphasis on the syllabic count of each line.
  • Also like the Etheree, the syllabic count ascends: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Like the Etheree, it is unrhymed.
  • Line 10 is the distinguishing feature between the Etheree and the Dectina Refrain. In the latter form, line 10 is comprised of lines 1-4 all together and sometimes enclosed in quotation marks. Hence, the refrain.


Below are two samples for you. The mood of the first one is rather dark, which is why I presented it first. I like to end on a positive note, so the second one does just that. In both of them I ended up breaking a word over two lines, and for that reason, I also chose not to use initial capitals on each line because it seemed awkward to capitalize the middle of a word. In fact, in the first one, I could well have removed all the capitalization, for it would have suited the mood, but the English teacher in me would not allow it.


body there?
Can you hear me?
The question goes out,
only to be swallowed
by the cold and callous fog—
hoary, insensitive ground-cloud.
Might as well have been fashioned from stone.
Is anybody there? Can you hear me?

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


was the
first Amer-
ican idol.
He reminded us
By strength of character
what it means to be a man:
loyalty, self-reliance, grit,
honesty, and generosity.
He was the first American idol.

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

NOTE: In case you didn’t know, “Duke” is John Wayne. I am a second-hand fan, having grown up watching his shows first with my dad and now my husband. I prefer to describe him as a hero rather than as an idol, but I was making a reference to the popular show and suggesting that he is a better role model (i.e. idol) for our youth than most of the stars put before them today. If only there were more John Waynes in the world!

It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a Dectina Refrain. 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. Don’t be afraid to break a word if need be, but avoid it if possible. Or perhaps you may want to utilize this element on several lines. I have seen that done to enhance a humorous mood.
  6. 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.


13 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #19: Dectina Refrain”

  1. This is the last one to complete all 36 poems. https://ramblingsofawriter2016.com/2018/07/27/10-line-poem-challenge-19-dectina-refrain-hot-summer-days/
    I have added all of them to the 10 lined poems category, but they are not in order of the challenges only the date I wrote them. Don’t know how to correct that.
    here is the link – https://ramblingsofawriter2016.com/category/10-lined-poems/
    Thanks for that challenge I really enjoyed doing them as I learned more from you, a great teacher.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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