Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Septercet

Today's form comes from the mind of Jane Yolen. A septercet is her newly invented form, a modified tercet. An actual tercet is composed of three lines of poetry, forming a stanza or a complete poem, though this one also has a line syllabic count of seven.

Here's an example.

Human Work

“The wild can be human work.”—Helen Macdonald

The wild can be human work
If we reset the balance,
Keeping our thumbs off the scales.

If we bring back, return things,
Not just take it all away,
The wild can be human work.

Restoration is hard graft,
Almost more than creation,
Which is why God needed rest.

But we humans dare not rest
Till we’re done with restoring:
Eagles in their high aeries,

Whales singing in their sea lanes.
Wolves commandeering forests.
All the wild come home again.

©2016 Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.

Cool, isn't it? I love syllable counting, so this should be fun. I hope you'll join me in writing a septercet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

And thanks to Jane for sending this and allowing me to share it with you!


  1. Love this! Challenge taken....although it might take me a while. I have a strange love for counting syllables!

  2. Depression

    Longtime writing friend’s in town.
    We talk about depression
    over scrambled eggs. She says

    people think it’s a dark room
    but light shines from a doorway.
    There is no door, there is no

    light. Just darkness, the blank kind
    that admits no banishment.
    Cheer up, her mother tells her.

    And her therapist prescribes
    medicine that doesn’t work.
    She does yoga, writes a book.

    For me it’s chocolate and poems.
    Why does the darkness linger,
    unwanted visitor from

    the deep depths of the ocean?
    Octopus with tentacles
    wrapping like chill night shadows?

    —Kate Coombs, 2016
    all rights reserved

  3. Oh, this form looks like a SERIOUS challenge, Tricia... Leave it to Lady Jane to make it look easy.

  4. The Carry-out Boy

    He’s a hipster. Narrow tie.
    Tight suit pants. The Amish beard
    and black rimmed nerd-nick glasses.

    Says when not taking classes
    spends off-time worming tunnels
    through major corporate funnels

    to distant off-shore havens
    where taxes seem to matter
    less than they do here. “Mister,”

    he says to reassure me,
    “once done with corporations
    I’m ready to hack nations.”

    There’s no need to fret as yet
    as he only could name three.
    No doubt he will go far, but

    ‘til he knows geography
    his only claim to fame is
    loading groceries in my car.

    © 2016 Judith Robinson

  5. Ready to Take A Ferry: A Septercet

    All my bags are packed and zipped,
    No water-proofing needed,
    Just the prayers of a swimmer

    Long past her Australian crawl.
    Now I'm a float and glider,
    Dolphin days long behind me.

    Counting on ferry captain's
    Expertise and native sense.
    I will drink tea in the lounge.

    Less chance of drowning that way.
    And too, tea is much warmer
    Than waters of the North Sea.

    ©2016 Jane Yolen all right reserved