Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Poetry: Playing with Cinquains

I like to try different forms of poetry from time to time. The Cinquain is a deceptively simple form--deceptive because although it's short and sounds relatively easy to write, it can actually require a great deal of wordsmithing to complete one.

Below are two kinds of cinquains:

Traditional cinquains are based on a syllable count:
line 1 has two syllables

line 2 has four syllables

line 3 has six syllables

line 4 has eight syllables

line 5 is back to two syllables

Here are three attempts I made at a Type 1 cinquain:


My hand
Shows signs of age
Wrinkles and painful joints
yet still grips a yellow pencil
and writes


All laugh and play
In a universal language
Even when winds of war destroy
Their world


Dance with old grace
As they play summer games
Their voices sweetly chant the songs
Of youth

There is another type of cinquain: the modern cinquain. It is based on a word count; the words, however must be the right kind of words!

line 1: an noun, a title or name of the subject of the poem

line 2: two adjectives describing the title

line 3:- three verbs describing an action related to the title

line 4: four words of any kind describing a feeling about the title--but these four words must make a complete sentence

line 5: one word that refers back to the title of the poem

Here are my Type 2 attempts:

Round, orange
Dot splash puddle
Sun-paint is rain-soft

early aromatic
brew fry toast
Come and get it

Care to give it a try and share your results?


  1. I'm going to try it-but it may take me a while! Love the pictures fromt the previous post!

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  3. Mmmm - Neat form. Elegant. I'm going to have to try it.

  4. I hope you'll share what you write, Tipper. It is trickier than it seems to get them right. I'm still not sure I did, but it was fun to work with the words to say just what I wanted to say. I think that's the beauty of poetry--it forces us to be selective about the words we using, honing and paring the language to get it right.

  5. Well, I could have been a little more selective and got my words right! How about "be more selective about the words we use..." instead of "words we using"!

  6. I came over through Tippers sight and I'm going to give this a shot. Might take me a couple of days...


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