Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Poetry Challenge #2: Cinquain

Before I start on this next challenge, please check yesterday's post for several more excellent haiku entries. Thanks for all who participated. I think from now on I will respond to each with a rating system eerily similar to the improv show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", i.e. assign each one some points that don't mean anything. They're like any words ever said by Spencer Pratt. 
Ready, kids? 'Cause here we go!

A cinquain (pronounced sin-cane) is a five-line, unrhymed poem. The syllable pattern goes 2-4-6-8-2. The subject matter is completely up to you, as is whether to title your work or not. It was inspired by the haiku and another Japanese poem, the tanka, which we may explore later. Here are a few examples:

The oak
in my backyard
holds twisted rope and wood 
and knows the name of every child
that swings.

(by Jeanne Cassler)

Grey shells
on walk, fresh spread
for summer's tourist surge,
await, as for a million years,
my tread.

(by Alan Reynolds)

Poets often string several cinquains together to form the stanzas of longer poems as well. 
Examples of this technique as well as the shorter form can be found here

Here is my first-ever attempt at a cinquain:

In the Moment
The future gleams,
But I can't forget now--
Babyhood is so fleeting; he's

See, we're learning together! I can't wait to see what you all come up with this week. Now, get writing!


Alicia said...

Oh boy, I can't tell you how many of these I wrote before I did one that I was ok with sharing.

fills the air, like
a sweet melodic tune.
Her soft giggle is music to
my ears.

Minerva said...

Alicia: 1,000 points for persistence paying off in a big way. Great use of simile and metaphor in the same poem! Don't worry, I had to try a few times to get a good one too. In fact, the one I put on the blog I almost had an extra line by accident!! Whoops!!

Mimi said...

To be at home -
Visiting family
While joyful, carries sadness too:

Minerva said...

I'll give you 500 points for a great encapsulation of a bittersweet reunion, 499 points for your haiku that you showed me but haven't posted yet, and 1 more point because you're my mom. :) Great job!!

paige said...

my breath
comes heavy now
pounding feet letting go
of pain and worry all at once
heal, run.

Minerva said...

Paige: 1,000 points for a terrific encapsulation of running through adversity. :)

Anonymous said...

is easier
than trying to conceive
of a whole cinquain's-worth of lines,

(And hopefully that 4th line won't be broken up in posting....)

(Second attempt; for some reason or other, a notice came up about illegal characters in my URL.)


Minerva said...

Cicely--no, your cinquain is intact. I agree, this form is harder than haiku. I wanted to do something longer than haiku but still not requiring a rhyme scheme. I have always found rhyming to be restrictive, but I will cover some rhyming kinds in time as well.

I award you 500 points for working a commentary on the poetic form INTO the poetic form, and 500 more for your persistence in trying to post despite the interwebs trying to eat it.

sorry you had trouble posting; hopefully that was a random Blogger error that won't happen again.

Stephanie Nelson said...

Oh dear
children awake
the sun has just risen
this is how my summer break goes
no sleep.

Ok, this is my first attempt and I know it's not very good. Although, it does tell you how my morning started. =)

Minerva said...

750 points for a terrific description of a teacher-mom's life on summer vacation, and 250 points for doing it on a sleep deficit. :)

Bill said...

Sun blinds
from windows and
makes odors even worse;
the city's still glorious in

(-totally unrelated-)

Can't be
any clearer
that we've all lost our way;
Jon and Kate are news while Iran
burns down.

Minerva said...

Glad you could join us, sweetie.
a great pair of cinquains. I love the first, especially--great evocation of our fair city. 1500 points for doing two terrific pieces, but -500 for getting it in JUST before the deadline. ;-)

As for the second cinquain, I was actually pleasantly surprised last night to see that at least on CNN.com, Jon and Kate were relegated to the very bottom of the front page and they had a very large section dedicated to Iran.

Stephanie said...

On Cleaning My Room

Dust flies...
Out bunnies, out!
This is no place for you, hiding in corners I can't reach.

Stephanie said...

there was supposed to be a line break after "hiding." grr.

Minerva said...

Excellent work. Something tells me this experience happened to you recently. :) Your 3rd and 4th lines are conjoined right now but otherwise perfectly constructed. 1,000 sparkling-clean points to you. And a kleenex.