Three Cinquains

cinquain is a five-line poem, normally without rhyme, but with a specific syllable count of 2-4-6-8-2.  The form was invented by Adelaide Crapsey, an American poet who took her inspiration from Japanese haiku and tanka.  As with most other poetic forms, the cinquaine has since been developed to encompass a variety of ways, whilst always holding to Crapsey’s basic formula.

The following amplification is taken from: ‘The Cinquain’ ByDeborah Kolodii, as published on the  ‘Shadow Poetry’  website …

The ideal cinquain for Crapsey was one that worked up to a turn or climax, and then fell back. Similar to the “twist” that often occurs in the final couplet of a sonnet, a cinquain’s “turn” usually occurs during the final, shorter fifth line or immediately before it. Thus, the momentum of a cinquain grows with each subsequent line as another two syllables, … (are) added bringing the poem to a climax at the fourth line, falling back to a two syllable “punch line”.


Adelaide Crapsey

n another of my occasional attempts at structuring my poetic thoughts into a (to me) new poetic form, I give below three of my own examples of the CINQUAINE.



My life
Lives in my work
Searching for the right words
Seeking to make them tell the truth


Are not for me
Rather, let the past rest
Whilst I live on in the present
With hope


Ends as the Spring
Advances with new life
Bringing hope and joy to us all


13 thoughts on “Three Cinquains

  1. You make Cinquains seem easy. The ones you posted are excellent. I have done two Tanka and posted on the blogs who asked. Otherwise I seem to just go with the flow and try to contain the overspill.:)
    For my own amusement I will try a Cinquain…you seem to be able to say a lot.
    Thanks Roland

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent examples and introduction to the form Roland. I have never attempted one before but your post has provided some inspiration.


  3. Wonderful examples of the cinquain. I like the link between them as well as how strong they stand on their own. Cinquain, tanka, and villanelle are some of my favorite forms.


Comments are closed.