Poetry Friday: A Monotetra

I woke this morning to the news of an unexpected snow day as well as news of the expected defeat of changing the filibuster rules in the Senate to allow the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to become law. My immediate reaction was to begin doom-scrolling through Twitter. I soon stumbled upon a tweet about this prompt from Stacy L. Joy on Ethical ELA:

Write a monotetra (or try any form of poetry) that can serve as resolutions for 2022, reminders to pursue peace, hope, and change, or perhaps write one that can bury the hurts and losses of 2020-2021.

A monotetra consists of mono-rhymed quatrains with 8 syllables per line. There is no set number of quatrains. The final line of each stanza should contain a repeating refrain.

Writing a monotetra seemed like a better way to spend my day, so I got to work. For the most part, I was able to achieve 8 syllables per line, but the repeating refrain eluded me.

Be kind to others. Help. Assist.
Raise your voice. Demand. Insist.
When Justice fails, step up. Resist.
Don’t give up. Carry on. Persist.

These empty-sounding platitudes
remind us that our attitude
relies on strength and fortitude.
Ideals aren’t reached in solitude.     

We haven’t any time to waste.
Each day our values are erased.
Our country’s hope has been defaced.
We can’t forget the dreams we’ve chased.

I’m still debating if the poem should end here or if the following stanza should be included:

Each day feels like an uphill climb.
We are running out of time
To strike a chord, make our lives chime.
We cannot stop; we’re out of time.

Either way, this is still very much a draft. It did help strengthen my resolve, though, and not give in to despair. At least for today.

Please be sure to visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A Monotetra

  1. Perfect form for this poem. Or poem for this form. It is a marching rally cry and your rhythm and rhyme is wonderful! I personally think your poem ends strongly without the extra verse. But who knows what your editing phase will bring. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your monotetra poem is the perfect way to “not give in to despair”, Catherine. And reading it is better for my soul than “doom-scrolling” (which is too easy to do these days…). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You certainly turned the gift of a snow day into good use! I played around with a monotetra as well, though mine still lives in my notebook. You’ve channeled a lot of powerful feelings into this one! I especially like the first stanza with the strength of all those one word “punches”. This line also speaks to me: “Ideals aren’t reached in solitude.” Great rhythm and rhyme throughout!

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  4. I like the idea of the marching beat of this poem mentioned in a comment above. This is a poem that can be marched to…which pairs perfectly with the topic. I’m wishing you more snow days to play with words and write them into poems with lines like, “When Justice fails, step up. Resist.
    Don’t give up. Carry on. Persist.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Doom-scrolling is a temptation for me too, Catherine. We do have to figure out how to persist and insist, don’t we? The anti-democracy folks are serious about it, so the lack of time feels real. Keep up your strength!

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  6. I love how you turned your scrolling into poetry. This form with so many rhymes is so challenging. I want to hold onto “Ideals aren’t reached in solitude.” and reach out a hand to help fill in the gaps. In so many ways, I just feel helpless. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. A snow day gift to lift you into action is a lovely thing, Catherine. Perhaps I don’t understand but if you have a repeating refrain, don’t they all have to have the same rhyme? I didn’t miss it, loved each of your verses, and especially this call: “We haven’t any time to waste.” Exactly!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Catherine, A whole day to write-that sounds so relaxing. Your poem with its new form is full of wisdom.
    We haven’t any time to waste.
    Each day our values are erased.
    There is urgency in your call to action. I like how the poem ends with chasing dreams so I would not add the extra quatrain but that is your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hooray for writing as an antidote to despair! Double hooray if you get something lastingly good out of the writing! I’m partial to that get-real second stanza, Catherine. Thanks for being part of the solutions.


  10. What strength and resolve you captured! You really made this form work for you! (I think this poem needs to get itself out into the wider world…)


  11. I like the last stanza as part of the poem, but I see others said the opposite! It’s your preference that counts! Thanks for your bracing words. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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