Cinquain Examples


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.

Examples of Cinquain:

Didactic form:
Ripe, juicy
Beckoning, Dripping, Biting
A herald of springtime.

Didactic form:
Cold, silent
Thinking, Producing, Calculating
Smarter than me, maybe?

Triad by Adelaide Crapsey (American Cinquain)

These be
three silent things:
The falling snow . . . the hour
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one
Just dead.

The Guarded Wound by Adelaide Crapsey (American Cinquain)

If it
Were lighter touch
Than petal of flower resting
On grass, oh still too heavy it were,
Too heavy!

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