‘Day & Night’ — a bit of Cinquain


I wake;
Sunbeams flow in;
They energize my soul.
I rise to meet the day’s demands;
Then rest.


I sleep.
Releasing care,
I snuggle deep and warm.
My dreams drift in and out until
I wake.



4 thoughts on “‘Day & Night’ — a bit of Cinquain

    1. Cinquain is the only poetic form that I’m aware of that was actually invented by an American– Adelaide Crapsey — although she had done a good deal of translating of haiku in her career as a teacher, so she was obviously influenced by that.

      She originally was focused on the number of syllables in each of her five lines, but she normally wrote them in iambic feet, which gave each foot one unaccented and then one accented syllable. So her cinquain is generally considered a poem of five lines with the first line having one iambic foot (one unaccented syllable and then one accented syllable) and each successive line adding one more iambic foot — until the last line, which goes back to one. Originally, the last line was intended to show some kind of twist, turn, punch line, etc. But, like haiku, people have tweaked the form for their own purposes throughout the years, and there are several varieties of it out there now.

      I often make this form the very first one that my students use in the Writing Poetry classes because it doesn’t require rhyme, and all they have to concentrate on are the syllables and the accents. Plus the fact that it’s an American form, which makes them feel more at home with it if they are hesitant about the world of poetry.

  1. How wonderful to be able to offer your students something home grown. You are so knowledgeable Sandra, I’m sure you’re an inspiring teacher. This stuff is beyond me I’m afraid, that’s why I call myself the lazy poet, not to rubbish what I do, just to acknowledge my limitations 🙂

    1. But sometime when you’re looking for something to break up boredom, just go ahead and give cinquain a try. I think you’ll find it easy because you are so good with haiku and tanka. I know you’ll like it once you do it. That’s one of the things I love about doing it with my students. So many of them, once they have the feel of it, just can’t seem to stop at one. They often write at least 2 or 3 or 4 before they’re done because it’s kind of like eating potato chips — you can’t eat just one because it tastes so good it makes you hungry for another one.

      And iambic meter is the most natural meter for English-speaking people. Our speech patterns often follow that kind of accent anyway. That’s why so much English poetry is written with it. You just need one syllable that isn’t accented, followed by a syllable that is accented. Do that once in the first line, twice in the next line, then 3 times and 4 times in lines 3 and 4. Then finish off with just one set again in the last line.

      In June I’m doing a children’s creative writing class, and we’ve never done poetry in the children’s class before, but I’m doing it this year. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in this form.

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