Friday, December 13, 2013

Carpe Diem's Little Ones #8, ''Cinquain''

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am late with this new episode of our ''Little Ones'' feature about other short poetry forms. Today I have chosen for the Cinquain, a (as it's name already says) five (5) line poem with also specific rules. Let me tell you a little bit more about the Cinquain.

At its most basic level, 'cinquain' simply means a stanza (or poem) with five lines. However, the word also refers to either of two more specific types of five-line poems. The first type is usually centered to give it a diamond shape and has the following format:

First line: a one-word subject or title.
Second line: two adjectives which describe the subject.
Third line: three verbs relating to the subject.
Fourth line: four words forming a phrase, sentence, or set of feelings relating to the subject.
Fifth line: one word which summarizes the poem or restates the subject.

The second and more traditional type is simpler and requires only that the pattern of syllables per line in the poem is 2, 4, 6, 8, 2. (In other words, the first line has two syllables, the second has four, etc.)

A nice little poetry form I think. I have never composed a Cinquain, so to me this is new ... very new. Of course I will stay at the second (more traditional) form with the syllables. And I have found a nice Cinquain which I first like to share here. It's written by Zhanna P. Rader and so the copyright belongs to her.

Red Poppies

Flaming Poppies

their scarlet free,
the poppies in the glen;
and here's to sing their majesty
a wren.

The red
flames swell and surge,
caught in his vocal art,
and rescue from its numbing dirge
a heart.

(c) Zhanna P. Rader

Red Rose Petals

And here is my attempt to write a Cinquain:

of red roses
covering the carpet
in front of the fireplace
your heart

your heart
once given
still beats for my life's sake
my sweet love

This episode of Carpe Diem's Little Ones will stay on until January 15th 11.59 AM (CET) and is NOW OPEN for your submissions. Have fun, be inspired and share your Cinquain (or other short poem (no haiku) with us all here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.


  1. Oof! I said aloud when I read your first Cinquain....or Xinquain to give an Asian flavour! Chèvrefeuille, I will eat my hat if many others do not comment on how powerful it is...really was flawless...maybe you need to change this to Carpe Diem Cinquain Kai if you produce more pearls like that!

  2. I agree ... that first cinquain is really stunning.. I wrote quite a lot of cinquain when I started to write poetry.. has been a while.. and I tried to follow your progression... also love the one you brought on as examples...

  3. This is a beautiful challenge Kristjaan and tough I had never read any cinquain or written any before,I loved both your creations and the ones you shared(by Zhanna).I just submitted mine-hope it is according to the rules:-)Excited to read what others have written-off to check and comment on those now:-)