Ten Commandments, or: Ten Utterances

My 1st Tetractys

the Decalogue
is referred to as 'Ten Utterances'.

Indeed, 'Ten Utterances', rather than
'Ten Commandments'...
to live

to these as
'Ten Commandments'
dismisses the rest of God's Torah Law.

Six hundred and thirteen is the number
of commandments
said to

an entire
people entered
into that famous covenant with God.

Basic principles were necessary,
which every Jew
could recite
off the

d’Verse prompt: Numbering Ten

At d’Verse, poets were challenged to try one of two different poetic forms:

  • A 10 line stanza (more stanzas if you wish);
    • 10 syllables per line;
    • rhyme scheme as per the Decuain or free verse if you’d prefer;


  • A 5 line stanza in the form of a Tetractys (more stanzas if you wish);
    • 1/2/3/4/10 syllables for odd numbered stanzas;
    • 10/4/3/2/1 syllables for even numbered stanzas.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

44 thoughts on “Ten Commandments, or: Ten Utterances”

  1. We thought of the same “ten”, David! I remember being impressed at seeing the tablets on the wall in a hotel in Israel. If only we could heed God’s “utterances”…

  2. This is very neatly done, and follows the prompt (religiously haha). I found the prompt too restrictive, and was put off by the threat of expulsion if not followed (she’ll do it too, she’s removed me from Linkys before, or complained that I broke the rules in my comments). I like technical prompts, but for where they take me, not for adhering to restrictions. I wouldn’t do well with 613 halacha!

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