Friday, October 02, 2015

Poetry Seven Write Etherees

This month my poetry sisters and I tackled the etheree. An etheree is a poem of ten lines in which each line contains one more syllable than the last. Beginning with one syllable and ending with ten, this unrhymed form is named for its creator, 20th century American poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong.

Variant forms of the etheree include the reverse form, which begins with 10 syllables and ends with one. The double etheree is twenty lines, moving from one syllable to 10, and then from 10 back to one. (I suppose a double etheree could also move from 10 syllables to one, and then from one back to 10.)

I made the etheree the first poetry stretch for the month of September. I did this to avoid procrastination and to encourage myself to write early. How did I do? Terribly! I was still writing and rewriting in the wee hours before this post was scheduled to go live, in the hopes that something good would come out of the bits and pieces I was tinkering with. Early in the month the theme of relationships was bandied about, and that's when I really got stuck. It seemed to me that relationships required two poems, or at least a conversation. Alas, I couldn't seem to make this one work.

As I prepare this post I am reminded that we promised ourselves to write and share REGARDLESS of the state of the poems, knowing that much of the time they won't be perfect. That means today I am embracing imperfection and sharing the most polished pieces of the lot.

First up is a pair of poems I wrote about a dog and cat who share the same home. I thought about titling them "Cat to Dog" and "Dog to Cat," but I'm not sure that's necessary. (Does anyone else struggle with titles like I do? Sometimes I find them harder than the poems!)

Flea scratcher,
frisbee catcher,
king of the beggars …
you think you are special,
but our human loves me most!
With my playful pounce, tender touch,
intelligent and commanding ways …
look and see! No one can resist a cat.

Mouse chaser,
sun spot bather,
queen of aloofness …
you think you are all that,
but our human loves me most!
With my soulful eyes, thumping tail,
affectionate and faithful ways …
look and see! No one can resist a dog.

I also wrote numerous poems about my dog. I like this one best, as it's a true story.

Finding Cooper

watching humans
come and go ... he waits
for one tender-hearted
to heal, to love, to comfort
him. She falls in love at first sight,
knows without doubt that he is the one
who will save her. They rescue each other.

Poems ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.

You can read the etherees written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below. 

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe. Happy poetry Friday friends! 


  1. Ah, rescue dogs, continuing the everlasting question: who is rescuing whom? A hand stretched out is a hand held. Lovely.

  2. I LOVE these. I love these so much. And it makes me miss my cats, as we're down to just a dog these days....

  3. King of the beggars....queen of aloofness. I love how you echo back between the poems. And the one about Cooper just makes me teary; dogs fill a hole in the human heart, I'm convinced.

  4. Tricia, I do not have animals in the house. My husband is allergic but I fell in love with your last poem-rescued by love!

  5. These are so touching and adorable! I can almost see your furbies shining through. So sweet!

  6. Love these. Hooray for Cooper!

  7. What a blessing that you and your compatriots have introduced a versatile new (to me, at least) poem form. I appreciate your poems; you painted such an endearing portrait of a cat that I almost wished I had one; I'm so allergic to the furry creatures--they take my breath away--but not in a good way. God bless!

  8. I love the playful back-and-forth of your first two poems. The third one really grabbed me!

  9. I adore your poems, really and truly, and don't think you failed at all. And all of your poems are about relationships - either between pets, or between you and your doggie (which was exceedingly sweet, and made me a little sniffly).

  10. I guess we always work and write & then can't settle on certain words, but I love your cat and dog poems, Tricia. They feel real in tone, just as these dear animals would act, if only they could speak! And your sweet tribute to your Cooper fits those who need a home. so nervous.

  11. Your first pair makes me laugh, and your Cooper etheree grabbed my heart with the double rescue.

  12. Oh, Tricia! Fantastic! Your cat and dog go great with my sun and moon, right? I love how you mirrored several phrases. I think this duo should be a forward and backward picture book--it would be perfect, and kids and grownups both would love it! And Cooper--that's the way I always feel about the best pets: pet and owner rescue each other regularly. Lovely job!

  13. Wow. I didn't know this form but you've made me want to try. I love all three but I think the third is my favourite. It really tugged at my heartstrings.

  14. Thank you all for your kind comments. I had so much trouble putting pen to paper with this one. I had one idea that wouldn't let go of me and it kept standing in the way of all the others. I'm not entirely disappointed with this outcome, though this is a form I'll really need to work on.

  15. I am loving the etherees as I do the rounds of Poetry Friday. They are a smooth and effortless read. Well done. (I can see I'm going to have to try one of these sometime soon.)

  16. Tricia, I know you said you hated this form, but I really liked these. I'm a big dog fan and Finding Cooper just made me want to hug that puppy!

    1. Thanks, John. It's funny how I don't mind counting syllables when writing sonnets, but this was just really hard for me.

  17. Tricia, this form works for you! I adored all three poems, wow, super impressed. The writing reminds me of Marilyn Singer's work. TRICIA POWER!!!!!!

    perched on ledge,
    head swiveling
    side to side like a
    infant, your musical
    morning conversation thaws
    my granite heart, enjoy this chunk
    of challah bread as thanks, along with
    your promise of a return engagement.

    (c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.