Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Choosing Cinquains

I meant to post this yesterday, but life got in the way. After taking a hiatus to be with my grandchildren, I did want to return with at least one final cinquain. I've enjoyed this challenge I set for myself, even though I didn't make it every day of the month. Thanks for following along with me. Happy National Poetry Month!

File:Johannes (Jan) Vermeer - Christ in the House of Martha and Mary - Google Art Project.jpg
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Johannes Vermeer

Martha's Choice

fretted over
boiled lamb and stuffed olives,
fumed and muttered while doling bowls
of stew,

that Mary sat
and did nothing to help,
unable to understand how

hands could
please Jesus when
so much depended on
a table filled with bread and wine
for him. 

© Doraine Bennett

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cinquains Interrupted

By jokes with Joseph and
Books with David and games with grand

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Corps of Cinquains 5

The Great Falls in Montana. National Park Service photo, courtesy of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site.

Great Falls

I wished
for the pencil
of masters, that I might
depict the infinite beauty--
these falls.

© Doraine Bennett

Monday, April 21, 2014

Corps of Cinquains 4

Photo from Floyd River Wildlife Complex.

Floyd's River

Floyd's body on
the bluff. Gave the river
his name. Returned to our boats and
pressed on.

© Doraine Bennett

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Allelulia! He Is Risen!

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

My mother woke us that Sunday – her voice

a bell proclaiming spring. We rose

diving into our clothes, newly bought.

We took turns standing before mirrors,

combing, staring at our new selves.

Sinless from forty days of desert,

sinless from good confessions, we

drove to church in a red pickup, bright

and red and waxed for the special

occasion. Clean, polished as apples,

the yellow-dressed girls in front

with Mom and Dad; the boys in back,

our hair blowing free in the warming

wind. Winter gone away. At Mass,

the choir singing loud: ragged

notes from ragged angel’s voices;

ancient hymns sung in crooked Latin.

The priest, white robed, raised his palms

toward God, opened his mouth in awe:

“Alleluia!” The unspoken word of Lent

let loose in flight. Alleluia and incense

rising, my mother wiping her tears

from words she’d heard; my brother and I

whispering names of statues lining

the walls of the church. Bells ringing,

Mass ending, we running to the truck,

shiny as shoes going dancing. Dad

driving us to see my grandmother. There,

at her house, I asked about the new word

I’d heard: resurrection. “Death,

death,” she said, her hands moving downward,

“the cross – that is death.” And then she

laughed: “The dead will rise.” Her upturned

palms moved skyward as she spoke. “The dead

will rise.” She moved her hands toward me,

wrapped my face with touches, and

laughed again. The dead will rise.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Corps of Cinquains 3

bodmer's view of blackbird's grave

Black Bird's Grave

Made land
at Black Bird's grave, 
chief slain with four hundred 
of his Omaha nation by

the hill we watch
the river meander
for miles, distance itself from
such sorrow. 

© Doraine Bennett

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Corps of Cinquains 2

White Pirogue on the way to Omaha
Lewis and Clark reenactors on the way to Omaha. Photo from Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center.

The White Pirogue

What new
comes, what evil genie
sails with the white pirogue on this

© Doraine Bennett

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Corps of Cinquains

Corps of Discovery

men, hand-picked, by
two captains navigate
upstream, keelboat, pirogues, canoes
poled or

pulled, towed
against currents,
shifting sandbars, dead tree
snags hidden on river bottoms,

north and west to
unknown Pacific shores,
forged by trials, hardened, strong to
the core.

© Doraine Bennett

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Cinquain Erodes

Erosion has caused polygonal rock faces to form in the sandstone and shale along the
Photo by Mike Neilson, Encyclopedia of Alabama

Water Takes the Mountain

I seep
into the sand-
stone cap, eat through weakened
rock, drip, drive, devour until I
break through

the softer shale,
unprotected now. I
ravage its folded anticlines.
The shale

sandstone topples
onto the valley floor,
the mountain is mine to plunder
and raze.

© Doraine Bennett

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kon-tiki Cinquain

Kon-tiki at Sea


the Pacific
in a balsa-log raft,
one forms a friendly partnership
with sea,

wind, sky.
Ocean waves crash
upon us, run through our 
roped frame, lift us atop the crest

© Doraine Bennett

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cinquains of Joy

A Psalm of Joy

My frame
will not contain
the joy a mother feels
when her children find their way home
at last.

to prayers prayed in
silent pain for their pain
seemed so long coming, I asked did
God hear?

And then,
as if He had
stored them up, kept them safe--
babes and answers--until their hearts
could hold

the stars,
moon, sun, answers
came spiraling, entire
galaxies, indisputably

and I
am filled with awe,
with wonder, with joy, here
where morning dawns, and evening fades
in song.

© Doraine Bennett

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maize Cinquain

File:Inside a corn maze near Christchurch, New Zealand.JPG

Corn Maze

I have
entered doors that
led to corn mazes too
complicated for peaceful thought,

why I
took this turn when
another would have led
me home, carried my dreams over

immune to pain,
but my route ran counter
to those paths, and I found treasure

the stalks of corn
that another might have
missed, and I am richer because
of it.

© Doraine Bennett

Today's Little Ditty has Poetry Friday round-up today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Photo by Graham Crumb

After Naps

She wakes,
nuzzles her curls
against my cheek, fearless,
commanding assurance she is

© Doraine Bennett

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stormy Cinquain

File:Bobbin rolling thunder.JPG


The storm
will not relent,
rages against the roof,
banging, spitting, screaming for its
own way.

© Doraine Bennett

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Timely Cinquain

File:Stopwatch A.jpg

When time
runs out and slams
the door like a spoiled child,
there's nothing you can do except
breathe and...

© Doraine Bennett

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Found Cinquain

I'm stretching the rules of the cinqauin today. Counting words rather than syllables, and fudging just a bit.

Mary Kingsley lived among the Fang tribe in West Africa, a fierce people known to be cannibals. She traipsed across Africa in a high-collared, long Victorian dress. She firmly believed a respectable woman had "no right to go about in Africa in things you would be ashamed to be seen in at home." She promptly told London feminists that she would rather have "perished on a public scaffold" than be seen in trousers. In fact, her long skirts probably saved her life when she fell into a pit dug by lion hunters. Her dress deflected the spikes intended to wound a captive lion. Mary traveled light and approached the Africans as a trader. The following "found poem" are her thoughts on African public relations.

File:Portrait of Mary Kingsley.jpg
Portrait of Mary Kingsley, circa 1900.
Mary Kingsley, African Explorer
A Found Cinquain

When you
first appear among people
who have never seen anything like
you before, they naturally regard you as
a devil.

But when
you buy or sell
something with them, they recognize
there is something reasonable and human about you
and that

if you
show yourself
an intelligent trader who knows
the price of things, they treat you
with respect.

© Doraine Bennett

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Things One Finds in the Creek

I have chosen to write a cinquain a day for National Poetry Month. I have also been reading Poem Making by Myra Cohn Livingston. She talks about using the dramatic voice in poetry, as opposed to the lyrical voice or the narrative voice. Apostrophe is one form of the dramatic voice. In it the poet addresses something that cannot answer. Livingston says that this voice is best used for "wondering, asking questions, or giving a bit of advice!" So I thought I would make my cinquain for the day an apostrophe.

There is a lovely creek in my backyard, and when it rains, strange and wonderful things float downstream to be caught on the rocks that span the water. After a recent three-day deluge, we spotted what looked like a door on the far bank. Once the creek went down enough to cross over, we discovered it wasn't a door at all. It was a piano keyboard! I've been pondering that keyboard for a few weeks now. It seemed the perfect subject for my apostrophe.

Cinquain for a Broken Piano

once pounded your keys,
played "Hey, Jude" or a Bach
prelude. Maybe they crooned a melody

for one
beautiful face
too haunting to forget.
But who dismantled you and cast
your bed

of keys
into the creek
somewhere upstream to drift
down to the rocks behind my house,
leave me

to grieve
the unfinished
song, wonder what note came
next,  and why your hammered strings are

© Doraine Bennett

Friday, April 4, 2014

Desert Cinquain

Today is Poetry Friday and Amy hosts the roundup at The Poem Farm. Stop by and enjoy all the exciting stops for this first Friday of National Poetry Month. My goal for the month is to write a cinquain each day. Here is the next installment.
File:Kalahari PICT0036 .JPG
Photo by Winfried Bruenken

Kalahari Crossing

by tsetse flies,
plagued by malaria,
bedeviled by hunger and thirst,
I sit

my small shade and
wait, bone-weary, wasting,
as a tyrant sun strolls across
the sky.

© Doraine Bennett

File:Lion and baboon 1.jpg
Photo by Charles J. Sharp

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Xanadu Cinquain

Illustration by Patten Wilson, 1898.
Xanadu drawn by Patten Wilson for a hardcover edition of Coleridge's poetry by Longmans Green, London, in 1898.

Dinner at Xanadu

He lifts
his glass, musicians
play, six thousand guests bow
their knees while the magnificent
Khan drinks.

© Doraine Bennett

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cinquain for Stanley and Livingstone

"Recontre de Livingstone," from the French translation of 
How I Found Livingstone by Henry Morton Stanley, 1876

Stanley Remembers

It was
a foolish way
to greet the man I sought
across half the dark continent.
When I

to dance and shout,
instead in quiet awe
I said, "Doctor Livingstone, I

he would reject
any jubilation,
I hid in the formality
of words.

© Doraine Bennett

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

National Poetry Month

There is so much going on in the Kidslitosphere this month. Fortunately the delicious Jama Rattigan is keeping up with it all. So stop over at Jama's Alphabet Soup to explore all the poetic possibilities.

I have been an armchair poet the last few Aprils, not fully trusting myself to make a commitment to post a poem every single day of the month. But this year, I've decided to dive in. As I have explored poetry forms lately, I found myself enjoying the very simple cinquain and all the possibilities it holds. See this post for a lovely example from Myra Cohn Livingston.

I'm going to be kind to myself if I don't manage to get one written every single day, but I'm trying not to leave myself too much wiggle room either! So let's get started with my first cinquain of the month.


Five lines
carry the thought,
counting syllables--two,
four, six, eight, two--creating one

© Doraine Bennett