Cinquain Notes

The Cinquain is a popular five-line stanza, derived from a very casual French form by Adelaide Crapsey. The five lines have specific syllable count starting with a two-syllable line and each of the following three lines increasing by two syllables and the final line is two syllables. Many poets use iambic meter, but that is optional to the poet’s want. Terry’s example below explains the form

First two
And two make four
And two to four is six
And two and two to four is eight
The end

Terry Clitheroe

Cinquain Chains

Many poets write their Cinquain chains without linking them, however it is possible to link them by using the last line of the first stanza for the first line of the next stanza and the last stanza linking back to the first by using the first line of the first stanza as the last line of the poem, as demonstrated by Lori Martin below.

sunshine
warm on my face
tilted to catch spring breeze
refreshing, uplifting after
winter

winter
ice drapes on roofs
frigid air, frozen breath
car won't start, cloaked people scurry
cranky

cranky
suffocating
winter's chill seizes heart
seasonal depression's cure is
sunshine

Lori Martin

Cinquain Swirl

The Cinquain swirl takes the chain one step further with the first line becoming the link between the stanzas and a swirling effect is created, returning to the first line at the end of the poem. Again, Lori Martin nails this form with her example below

"Someday"
he'll say when asked
when we'll be together;
impatient, discouraged,
vision short-sighted, heart can't see
someday,
mythical time
where all hopes and dreams dwell
while future plans wrestle with Fate's
someday
rides a rainbow
into happier thoughts
then dances a Passe doble
someday
I'll find my smile,
my heart will stop aching,
life will be painted in pastels
someday

Lori Martin

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