Friday, March 28, 2014

Poetry Friday: Cinquains

 I've been experimenting with writing in forms recently and found that I like the very simple cinquain.

A cinquain is a five line poem with syllable count in each line of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2. Paul Janeczko, in his book, A Kick in the Head, says that "a good cinquain will flow from beginning to end rather than sounding like five separate lines."
While Fat Tuesday is long gone and we are well into the Lenten Season, I want to share this poem, "Mardi Gras," from Myra Cohn Livingston today. It comes from her book, Celebrations, which has several poems written in cinquain form. I like this one especially because of the repeating phrase that shows up in variations in each stanza.

Mardi Gras
by Myra Cohn Livingston

Throw me
something, Mister, 
I shout to the krewes on
their floats, rolling down Bourbon Street.
Throw me

from behind your
mask, a string of glass beads,
purple beads for justice, beads of green
for faith

of bright gold for
power. Throw me something
now that it's Fat Tuesday and its's
time for

dancing, singing,
and you, Mister, on your
float reaching for something you can
throw me--

Mary Lee hosts the roundup today at A Year of Reading.


  1. I think I should print this out to remember the lesson, Dori. What a wonderful example. Wouldn't it have been great to have worked with her? Have a great Friday!

  2. what a wonderful cinquain! I, too, love the form! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love having examples of cinquains that are actually POETRY and not formulaic lists of nouns and adjectives, as so many (unknowing) teachers teach them!

  4. Thanks, Dori - like Linda, I am going to print this out and teach from it.

  5. This is one of the best cinquains I've read! Very nice. Thanks, Dori!

  6. Wow. I had no clue about this form's potential!

  7. I just love the voice of celebration here! I hope to witness at least one Mardi Gras celebration in my lifetime! :)