Cinquain Poems: What Is It and How To Write (With Template)

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There are many forms of poetry. From sonnets to haikus to freeverse poetry, words can be arranged in any way one likes to express feelings through poetry. One such form of poetry is cinquain poetry. We’ll look at what cinquain poems are, the template for the poems, and some examples of different types of cinquain poems.

The defining feature of a cinquain poem is that it is made of five-lines. Like a haiku (which was the inspiration for cinquain) which has three-lines, original cinquain has five. I say original because there are many variations of this poem type and we will look into that. 

The term cinquain is derived from the French word Cinq which means five. The term cinquain means a stanza of five or a stanza in poetry that’s made of five lines. There are different types of cinquain poems. A poem that has stanzas with five lines can be called a cinquain poem. But the original cinquain has a distinct pattern. First. Let’s have a look at the traditional cinquain poem.

The original cinquain was invented by Adelaide Crapsey. An anthology of cinquain poems called Verses was published by her in 1915. These original cinquain poems are very distinct with their tone, rhyme, and structure. Here’s the template for the original cinquain poem illustrated with the help of an example. 

Cinquain poem template

The original cinquain poem, also called the traditional cinquain poem, has a very distinct pattern. There are five lines in a cinquain poem and each line has a purpose. The first pattern is the number of words or syllables. Using the template we have provided here, you can write your cinquain poems. Here’s the template;

The first line has one word

The second line has two words

The third line has three words

The fourth line has four words

The fifth line is the last and it has only one word. 

Now the number of words has been cleared, these words are not just any random words. These words have a purpose and the overall meaning brings out the poem. Each line in a poem serves a different purpose. This is the purpose of each line in a cinquain;

  • The first line is a noun. It is a single word which can be any noun such as “house”, “insect” or “car”. This is the subject one that the poem will be focused on.
  • The second line has two words and these are the adjectives used to describe the noun in the first line. Describe the noun you chose in the first line with some general characteristics.
  • The third line is about the verb. The line ends with an “-ing” suffix and is about a verb that is associated with the noun.
  • The fourth line is about the effect of the noun. It is a feeling that is affected by the noun. Everything will be illustrated with examples later. 
  • The fifth line is just another name for the noun in the first line. It is a synonym for the noun used in the first line. 
Cinquain poetry template
Template for writing a cinquain poem

Here’s an example of a cinquain poem with different components;

Water

Wet, transparent 

Drinking, washing, bathing

Every animal needs it

Life

Look at the example above. The first line is a noun, water. The next line contains adjectives that describe water. The third line is verbs associated with water. The fourth line contains the effects or use of the noun. This is where you can get creative while writing your cinquain poetry. The fourth line is just a synonym for the noun used in the first line.

cinquain poetry example

Examples of cinquain poems

We cannot just write an article on cinquain poems and not provide some original cinquain poems from the writers here at Wordsrum. Here are some exclusive original cinquain poems categorized based on their themes. 

Funny cinquain poems 

Knock 

Loud, twice 

Thinking, opening, asking

I hear five knocks 

Cinquain 

An example of a funny cinquain poem

Lion 

Majestic, wild 

Roaring, roaming, hunting 

There’s one near me

Death 

Cakes 

Sweet, fluffy 

Eating, munching, devouring 

I need one more 

Diabetes 

Studying 

Test, knowledge 

Reading, learning, repeating

Just ten-minute break 

Sleep

Game 

Fun, addictive 

Multiplayer, competitive, casual

Just five minutes more 

Addicted

Sleep 

Sweet, peace 

Comforting, dreaming, relaxing

Oh no I’m late

Weep 

Cinquain poems for family and friends

Love

Caring, helpful

Nurturing, guiding, providing 

She loves the most 

Mother 

Shade

Cool, comforting 

Protects, preserves prevents 

From harsh sun heat 

Mother 

Friends

Close, connected 

Belonging, believing, laughing 

They make our world 

Love 

Brother 

Friend, family 

Protecting, loving, caring

Closer than everyone 

Confidante 

Father 

Strong, teacher

Guiding, mending, supporting 

Always there for us

Strength 

Different types of cinquain poems

While the traditional cinquain has a particular pattern to it, there are modern versions of it that are more liberal in terms of pattern. These poems have the required 5 lines per stanza, but the subject and the syllables are free from the traditional practices.

Here are some examples of modern cinquain poems by Wordsrum;

Melodies 

My ears long for those sweet

Sweet sounds of you humming 

And singing those words 

Stuck like a bee to a pot of honey 

My memories hold your melodies 

Losing hope

There’s isn’t anything shameful 

In losing hope, for we all do

But what’s important is we find it again

And always try to 

Losing hope but finding it again too

Wondering 

I have been wondering 

Of a life that could have been 

And I found that it’s neither good nor bad

It isn’t anything because it doesn’t exist 

So I choose the present that is real to live

Thoughts

Such a journey are our thoughts 

The places they take, imagination wrought 

Some beautiful and fragrant, some stench with rot

But these vehicles are important for our minds 

Whether you like their destinations or not. 

Rage

A fire that burns 

Riding the red coursing blood

And the heart beats wildly to run

To run away from your fears

Or to face it for a complete turn?

Another day 

Don’t let it be just another day 

Another day of things passing by

While your dream of that someday

Rise and wake up from your slumber 

And make that someday today. 

Remembrance

A long lost day

running wild, running stray

What a wild thing it is to have one

a memory so visceral that one forgets

that it is just a cruel remembrance

So these were the cinquain poems by Wordsrum. We hope the article was helpful in resolving your query. Do practice using the template and you can write cinquain poems easily. Read more article related to poetry and original poems by Wordsrum;

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