Thursday, April 21, 2022

Day 21 ~ Cinquain Poems [3 ways]

Cinquain Poems [3 ways] for “30 Poems in 30 Days” for #NationalPoetryMonth 2022

Okay, so bear with me today as this might be a big long BUT – we will be writing one of my all-time favorite poetic forms ~ Cinquain ~ I have shared this poetry form with a couple of variations every year that I have run this poetry challenge because I love it so much! 

Although I have enjoyed and dabbled in poetry (some rhyming and some not) all my life, it wasn’t until I attended a poetry workshop in the late 90s and was taught a few specific poetry forms, starting with cinquains, that I realized how fun following a specific poetic form (like those I have been sharing with all of you each day this month) can be. 

Here is the poem I created that night which pretty much started me down my current poetry path: 



Feeling secure

Where judgment has no place

Wrapped in the safety of your arms



         © 1998 Stephanie Abney 

That night I was taught just one way of doing cinquains: using a specific number of syllables per line with exact requirements – (subject, description, action, thoughts/feelings, and back to subject with a different word) and thought that was it, but have since learned there are more ways to write a cinquain poem. 

In years past, I usually share “Cinquain – pattern 1” and then the next day, “Cinquain – pattern 2,” and thought that was it, but I keep finding additional varieties so I think I’ll try to give the directions to the three most common and also a link to help you pick and choose the style you want, or better yet, try them all out. Good idea?

Cinq is French for FIVE

The DICTIONARY says a “cinquain” is a short poem consisting of five, usually unrhymed lines containing, respectively, two, four, six, eight, and two syllables.

From Cinquain: Poetic Form we read that the cinquain, also known as a quintain or quintet, is a poem or stanza composed of five lines. Examples of cinquains can be found in many European languages, and the origin of the form dates back to medieval French poetry.

So, basically, here is what I call Cinquain pattern 1

This short five-lined poem doesn’t have an actual title; rather, the FIRST line (two syllables in this case) becomes the title

It does not rhyme and in this version, you count the number of SYLLABLES per line and each line has specific requirements. The first line has 2 syllables; each line increases by 2 syllables until the last line, which returns to 2 syllables.

RESIST the urge to add words - follow the pattern - you'll be surprised at your results!! 

1st line ~ two syllables – the subject (or title) or your poem

2nd line ~ four syllables that describe the title/subject

3rd line ~ six syllables that express action

4th line ~ eight syllables that express a thought or feeling

5th line ~ two syllables that show a synonym for the title (restates your subject from the first line using a different word)


Here’s a second example of that form: 



Feelings expressed

From down deep in my heart

So you know who I am I’ll sing

Word Songs


                         © 2011 Stephanie Abney





AND here is Cinquain pattern 2:

It has basically the same format except that instead of counting syllables per line, we are counting WORDS per line:

1st line ~ one word – the subject (or title) or your poem

2nd line ~ two words that describe the title/subject

3rd line ~ three words that express action

4th line ~ four words that express a thought or feeling

5th line ~ one word synonym for title (restates your subject using a different word)


Here's an example of this style poem:



Helping others

Let’s work together

Bearing one another’s burdens



© 2011 Stephanie Abney




Cinquain pattern 3: ~ Poem with five lines. 

There are a certain number of words in each line, with SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS PER LINE

Line1: A noun (basically, THIS is your title)

Line 2: Two adjectives

Line 3: Three "-ing" words

Line 4: A phrase

Line 5: Another word for starting noun 



Sweet, precious

Laughing, babbling, crying 

If only they stayed little


               © 2011 Stephanie Abney


No doubt, other variations exist – but this should do it for now on CINQUAINS!! Enjoy!


PLEASE REMEMBER ~ any poetry found on this blog, written by me, is my personal property and may not be used without my permission, other than sharing it as an example in a lesson or to read it to someone. The same goes for any poems that are shared in the comments of this blog or elsewhere online as a result of this challenge. They are the creative property of the person who writes them. These poems are their original work and no one may use them without their permission. It is understood that they own the copyright to them as soon as they write them, as well as post them. Thanks so much!

Also, if you choose to post your poems on your own blog ~ that’s awesome. But PLEASE don’t just copy and paste my daily instructions, but rather post your poem on your blog or your FB wall or wherever AND LINK BACK TO THIS BLOG POST for others to come here to read the instructions. I’ve spent considerable time researching the poetry forms and writing them up to share with you. Thanks for respecting my work and the work of others.

1 comment:

Heidi L. Murphy said...

Here's mine. Thank you for all your hard work, Stephanie. I greatly appreciate it.