The Cinquain

Thanks to Writer's Digest, I have discovered another poetry form that may rival the shadorma in fun and function. It works mathematically, requiring five lines, two syllables in the first, four in the second, six in the third, eight in the fourth, and two in the last. I suppose you could loop it, using a sixth line for four syllables, the seventh for six, and so on and so forth. At any rate, it was created by Adelaide Crapsey, a turn of the century American poet. She wrote a large number of cinquains in the years preceding her death, so they typically tend to have a darker tone. However, this in one of my favorites of hers:

The sun
Is warm to-day,
O Romulus, and on
Thine olden Palatine the birds
Still sing
- Adelaide Crapsey

Here are mine, though they are starkly overshadowed by hers.

Hoof in Mouth
We can’t
learn how to dance
until I learn how to
hold your hand. Mark tempo for my
Home Garden
The jays
are eating my
fennel, leaving me with
grass, soil, and petunias. I can’t
eat those.
Eating Us
Once more
I sit in here,
staring at imagined
radiation, thinking about
The Cost of Flight
I can
sympathize with
the birds who fly close to
the ground, looking for a doorway
to crash.

_JR Simmang_


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