Three Cinquains

photo Sylvia Duckworth

Work in the night
Wrapping the garden in
Silk ribbons, turning peas into


The girls
Unearth the beets.
They pull their hair and scrub
Their cheeks and fill the sink with hands
Dyed pink.


Grow slowly, each
Line slightly longer than
The one before, building up to
The end.


I was reminded of the cinquain by a fellow poet this week, so I went back and read again about Adelaide Crapsey and the form she invented. Crapsey appreciated haiku and invented her own, similar form, the cinquain, which has five lines of two, four, six, eight, then two syllables. After writing many haiku over the summer, I was curious to revisit the cinquain to see how it might feel different to write in a form that was intended for English. I even took one of my haiku from last week and rewrote it as a cinquain. For me the haiku feels like two photographs brushing against one another as they fall, while the cinquain feels like climbing a little hill before jumping off the other side.
For more Poetry Friday go to A Year of Reading

(c) 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

4 replies
  1. Linda at teacherdance
    Linda at teacherdance says:

    I love the sink water turning pink, which it would. The image is lovely. And I like the way you talked about the difference between the two forms. I will share this with older students. I think they will have the beginnings of understanding with your analogy, Liz. Thank you!

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