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Poetry at laterlife  - The Tetractys


Poetry at Laterlife

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Ronnie Goodyer, editor of Poetry at Laterlife, has had hundreds of poems, sketches and articles published, including several as Featured Poet, plus appearances in galleries and exhibitions.

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The Tetractys


This is an absorbing form that follows a syllable count of


It can be reversed (A Reverse Tetractys)


Or doubled either way to form a Double Tetractys

1-2-3-4-10-10-4-3-2-1 for example, or 1-2-3-4-10-1-2-3-4-10

In fact, any combination of the single forms is acceptable. Some interesting shapes may be made from this form too, try some variations. As in all poetry, thought should enter each line and the single word forming the beginning (or end) should ideally not be as boring as ‘a’ or ‘the’ etc. There are plenty of interesting single syllable words out there! Here’s a
humourous version I had published some years ago:

My 1
cat licks 2
his paws then 3
wipes all over. 4
He’s not clean, he’s just covered in cat-spit. 10

On a different take altogether, the flow of a
tetractys is suitable for weightier pieces. Have a look at this double, which won a prize for me when I lived in Devon:

Dartmoor Regression

In a midnight symphony of colour,
high raven’s wings
rustling at
with tales,
pale moon hands
stroke Standing Stones,
giving a glimpse of earth’s pre-history.

I haven’t shown the syllable count here, but you can check for accuracy if you wish! And do you see what I mean about shapes?

Your Turn

As with the sonnets and the rhyming couplets earlier, I would like you to submit your poetry to me, this time, of course, in tetractys. Try to pick a subject that will interest many but be thought of by few. Use the suggestions above and enjoy! I would suggest a poem of around 15 lines or so. I will publish a selection on the site for all visitors – and we have a lot – to enjoy. Use the site email with ‘Tetractys’ in the heading. I look forward to seeing your submissions and please contact me if there’s anything you are unsure about.


Best Wishes,


Ronnie Goodyer



Here at poetry at laterlife we will be continuing our series of verse forms. There is no hard and fast order with this agenda so if there is anything you are particularly interested in, just drop me a line. Also forthcoming will be themed competitions with various awards and, subject to demand, our own anthologies. Although it is well in advance, one scheme is to publish an anthology prior to Christmas to give personal gift opportunities. Details of this will be forthcoming shortly.




Please send submissions, comments, queries to me at:


ensuring that you use pal as part of the email heading.

If you would like to receive details of Reach poetry magazine, The Dawntreader literary magazine or current Indigo Dreams Press poetry competitions please email with specific interest to:


Good luck with your creativity and I look forward to welcoming you as a laterlife poet.



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