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Welcome to Young Writers' free Poetry Glossary


What is a Tetractys?

The poetic form of the tetractys is a poem with only five lines. Each line adds another syllable until the last line which has ten.

What is the Stucture of a Tetractys?

A tetractys consists of 5 lines, each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 1 syllable
Line 2 – 2 syllables
Line 3 – 3 syllables
Line 4 – 4 syllables
Line 5 – 10 syllables

An Example of a Tetractys Poem

(1 syllable) I
(2 syllables) Am four
(3 syllables) And I go
(4 syllables) To big school where
(10 syllables) I learn to read and write and spell my name.

Double Tetractys Poem

For a more complex form there is the double tetractys, which is similar but has ten lines and is structured as shown below:

Line 1 – 1 syllable
Line 2 – 2 syllables
Line 3 – 3 syllables
Line 4 – 4 syllables
Line 5 – 10 syllables
Line 6 – 10 syllables
Line 7 – 4 syllables
Line 8 – 3 syllables
Line 9 – 2 syllables
Line 10 – 1 syllable

An Example of a Double Tetractys Poem

(1 syllable) I
(2 syllables) Am four
(3 syllables) And I go
(4 syllables) To big school where
(10 syllables) I learn to read and write and spell my name. (10 syllables) It is fun and I play games with my friends (4 syllables) My best friend is (3 syllables) Called Rosie (2 syllables) She is (1 syllable) Nice.

Why don't you try writing a tetractys poem and enter it into one of our poetry competitions.

More poetry types below.

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