Whittled Words – Cinquain Poem



Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




I love playing with poetic forms, especially when the rules aren’t so complicated that I have trouble keeping up with the technical issues of the poem. I cannot tell you how many times I have struggled with the final stanzas of a longer form poem.

So, I’m happy to share the cinquain, which is a nifty five-line poetic form from Adelaide Crapsey. Inspired by tanka, the cinquain is comprised of 2 syllables in the first line, 4 in the second line, 6 in the third, 8 in the fourth, and 2 in the fifth. Plus, poets have the freedom to add or subtract one syllable from each line. That’s a lot of freedom for such a small poem, which makes this form a joy to write and explore.


Examples of Cinquain Poems:



by Toni Joell


You wait
curled in my dreams,
clutched to the edge of my
darkest desires. Why do you still
haunt me?



by Cin5456

nipping at my
toes or tangled in the
curtains. Welcome little one, my



by Laurie Kolp

Lucy’s curfew –
curbside parting kisses.
Upstairs, spying little brother



by Cindy M


Kiss me
Darling I can’t
Live without you here now
Your absence, a void in my heart



by Brad Osborne


Your touch

Close and caring

Expression beyond words

Action replaces oration

Say less




by Brad Osborne


No need

No luxury

Content with lesser wealth

Investing in a better self

Monk’s life




by Brad Osborne


The seed

A cocooned life

Waiting for earth and rain

To bring forth that which lies dormant




I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Cinquain poem. Thanks for reading!




7 Responses to “Whittled Words – Cinquain Poem”
  1. jupitergrant says:

    You’re a very talented poet 💖

  2. Jim Borden says:

    seems like a fun style; enjoyed your versions of cinquain. your reference to monks reminds me of my recent visit to Bangkok – I never saw so many monks!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Cinquain poem and a Tautogram poem in one piece. This may not make sense, but when you find the third form that I […]

  2. […] [Cinquain poem]You razedOur villagesAnd my father was killedFrom my people’s gruesome carnageYou’ll pay! […]

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