My poem today—a cinquain—is for Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children. Sylvia served with me on the Cybils poetry-nominating panel. She was also the co-chair of the 2006 Selection Committee for the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Sylvia usually posts at her blog once a week—but she’s been posting every day during National Poetry Month. You may want to stop by for a visit.
The following poem is my first attempt at writing a cinquain. It is not one of my old moldering poems. I wrote this one several months ago for a collection entitled TASTING THE SUN that I began work on about twenty years ago.
by Elaine Magliaro
Weary and worn,
Wearing a muddy white
Robe, frees her icy grip…makes way
ABOUT THE CINQUAIN
The cinquain is a poetic form that was developed by a woman named Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914). Most teachers know a bastardized form of the cinquain that is often taught in language arts classes. The true cinquain is a five-line poem of twenty-two syllables that does not rhyme. Visit Cinquain.org to read twenty-eight cinquains written by Adelaide Crapsey.
First line: two syllables
Second line: four syllables
Third line: six syllables
Fourth line: eight syllables
Fifth line: two syllables
Award-winning poet and anthologist Myra Cohn Livingston was a master of this poetic form. Alice Schertle and Kristine O’Connell George are two other children’s poets who have written some excellent cinquains.
Here are the titles of poetry books in which you can find some fine examples of “true” cinquains:
POETRY BOOKS WITH CINQUAINS
By Myra Cohn Livingston
Monkey Puzzle and Other Poems (Margaret K. McElderry, 1984)
Sky Songs (Holiday House, 1984)
I Never Told and Other Poems (Margaret K. McElderry, 1992)
Flights of Fancy and Other Poems (Margaret K. McElderry, 1994)