10-line Poem Challenge #25: Pirouette

This beautiful form has perfect symmetry and a sharp “turn-around,” or pirouette, in the center. The key to creating a good Pirouette is to be able to turn the subject matter around and present the opposite—or at least a different—perspective. This may not be easy with only 10 short lines with which to work, but I want you to try. I myself was intimidated by the Pirouette until I tried it. That’s why I saved it for #25.In summary, the Pirouette is:

  • A decastich (10-line poem) written in two 5-line stanzas.
  • Each line contains 6 syllables
  • Line 5 ends the first half of the poem, and line 6 starts the second.
  • Lines 5 and 6, called “the turn-around,” are identical. The turn-around must be sharp, taking the thought in a different, preferably opposite, direction.
  • Rhyming is optional


Below are two samples for you. The first one is a poem written about the form itself, and the second one is semi-autobiographical.

Since rhyme is optional, you may do whatever you like. If you like rhyme, some options are aaabb bbaaa… abcde edcba… aaaaa aaaaa (monorhyme)… abcba abcba... etc. Really, the possibilities are just about endless, as long as line 5 rhymes with line 6 (since they are the same).

The first sample poem below is unrhymed, and the rhyme scheme I chose for the second Pirouette is abbcc ccbba. Since a pirouette is a dance move, I wanted the rhyme to be fluid and symmetrical. I also wanted it to turn with the tone of the poem. But don’t let all this grace fool you. My second sample is meant to be funny, and I believe the rhyme lends to the humor. It’s even based on a true event, although thankfully I have not yet fulfilled the prophecy. ☺


To ten lines limited
On each six syllables
They do not have to rhyme
The theme is anything
With a clear turning point

With a clear turning point
The work may entertain
Or may elucidate
Some message meaningful
To those who read the words

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved


Once I was young and thin,
Able to eat my weight.
Grandmother warned too late:
“Honey, just look at me—
That will not always be.”

That will not always be….
Her message haunted me.
Heaviness was my fate;
Now her I emulate
From toe to double chin!

Rhyme scheme for this one: abbcc ccbba
Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a Pirouette. 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. Decide whether or not you will use a rhyme scheme, or just let it evolve.
  3. 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. Publish your post on your blog.
  4. Come back here and click the blue button below to add your link to the others.

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.

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