Cinquain Poetry

Cinquain poetry is something like a puzzle. it was developed by a NY poet Adelaide Crapsey, (1878 - 1914). This form has some things in common with the haiku. However, aside from the fact that it holds to a very specific form and it is NOT supposed to rhyme, it is very different.

Haiku poems are supposed to be about one of the four seasons, and written in the present tense. Read more about Haiku Rules.

These rules do not apply to cinquain poetry.

Rules for Writing Cinquain Poetry

Here are the basis Cinquain Rules:
1.Each poem is composed of five lines. "Cinq" translate to "five" in French. That is the origin of the word "Cinquain."

2. Each line has a prescribed number of syllables -- not words. For example, the word, syllable, is one word and three syllables.

3. This is the order of syllable number for each line:


Cinquain Poetry Examples

The best way to understand this form of poetry is to experience a few examples.

The first example is "Shih Tzu." It is about my new little dog, Bettina. We adopted her from a shelter to keep our dog, Harley, company. My husband and I like her too. : ) She is a bundle of personality, and is very affectionate and cuddly. This is a good thing, for as you will see in the  poem below, she also has flaws.

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu
Fluffy small dog
Worked her way in my heart
Even though she poops in the house.

by Denise Rodgers
all rights reserved

The second  example is "Cocker Spaniel." It is about Harley (pictured below), who we adopted about two years prior to Bettina (see above). He is affectionate -- but not nearly so much as the lap dog, Bettina. Fortunately, he does NOT share her nasty flaws. (No little gifts for me to scrub out of the carpet now and then.)

Cocker Spaniel
The black
Cocker spaniel
Has lived with us longer
Compared to her, he is so huge
And neat.

by Denise Rodgers
all rights reserved

The next Cinquain Poem poses a question, and answer it as well. Please remember to count the syllablesin each line and notice the 2-4-6-8-2 pattern.

10 x 10 = ?

Smart You
How much
Is ten times ten?
If you say one hundred,
You are absolutely correct.
Smart you!

by Denise Rodgers
all rights reserved

The next Cinquain Poem was written to honor the chair. Please read carefully and count every syllable. Also, please note my model is the ever-patient Harley, impersonating me at my desk.

Sit Down
Sit down.
There is a chair,
Or you can choose the floor.
So long as you get off your feet.
And sit.

by Denise Rodgers
all rights reserved

The last Cinquain Poetry example is about the sun. The forced pattern, in this case, made me put the words together in an unusual way.

Perfect yellow
Streaming in my window
Brightening up my whole house and
My day.

by Denise Rodgers
all rights reserved

Now that you've had a chance to read a few Cinquain Poems, maybe you'd like to try your hand at writing a few of them yourself. Give it a chance. All it takes is paper, pen and a little time and imagination. Have fun!

If you'd like to see more funny poems on many subject, please return from Cinquain Poetry to our HOME PAGE. Or you may go directly to Haiku Poems, Onomatopoeia Poems, Funny Sonnets, or Ballads.

A Little Bit of Nonsense by Denise Rodgers on
Classroom Poem News on Girl in envelope.


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