A cinquain is a specific type of poem, created by Adelaide Crapsey. It has five lines, but they do not rhyme. Each line has a set number of syllables:
Line 1-2 syllables
Line 2-4 syllables
Line 3-6 syllables
Line 4-8 syllables
Lines 5-2 syllables
In the original form by Crapsey (American Cinquain), each of these lines was written in iambic pentameter-meaning they had lines with unstressed, stressed syllables alternating.
There are some variations on the form. For example, the Didactic Cinquain has the following characteristics:
Line 1-One word, also the title
Line 2-Two adjectives that describe the word in line one
Line 3-Three words that give more information about the subject.
Line 4-Four words that show emotion about the subject-either
individual words or a phrase/sentence Line 5-Synonym of the title or a word very similar to it.
A cinquain typically has vivid imagery and is an attempt to express a specific mood or emotion.
Beckoning, Dripping, Biting
A herald of springtime.
Thinking, Producing, Calculating
Smarter than me, maybe?
Triad by Adelaide Crapsey (American Cinquain)
three silent things:
The falling snow . . . the hour
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one
The Guarded Wound by Adelaide Crapsey (American Cinquain)
Were lighter touch
Than petal of flower resting
On grass, oh still too heavy it were,
Examples: Grammar and Science Examples for Kids