EducationEnglishPoetrySupporting Learning

How To Write Stunning Cinquain Poems Easily

Cinquain poem of five lines about a dragster.
Does your student have to write a poem but can’t get started? Here’s a simple method for writing a stunning Cinquain, a descriptive poem of only five lines.

As a Primary School teacher in the past, I found it very difficult to coax some children, especially “hands-on” or “active, outdoor” types, into writing poetry. If this sounds like you and your child, a Cinquain is a great place to start.

A Cinquain is a poem of five lines with a set structure. It has no rhyming words or rhythm pattern to worry about and no punctuation at the end of lines. Here’s how to go about it in 4 – 5 steps.

  1. Identify a familiar and exciting topic, especially one which involves action of some kind, e. g. a pet, a sport, an activity or a person. You need just one noun for the first line and another noun, which means the same thing, for the fifth line. Use capital letters for these. For an example I chose “Dragster” and “Racer,” but you could choose “Horse” and “Stallion,” or “Athlete” and “Champion.”
  2. Write down as many adjectives as you can which describe the noun. Choose two of these which create a picture in your mind and also make a pleasant sound together when spoken out loud. Write these on the second line beginning with a capital letter and place a comma between the two adjectives. In my example I chose “Streamlined, powerful.” Other adjectives I may have chosen are “sleek, noisy, shiny, long or vibrant.”
  3. List as many action verbs as you can think of which relate to your topic. These words (verbs) must all end with “ing.” Choose three of these which create a picture in your mind and also make a pleasant sound together when spoken out loud. Write these on the third line beginning with a capital letter and place a comma between each verb. In my example I chose “Speeding, smoking, rocketing.” I may have chosen “accelerating, zooming or fuming.”
  4. Think of a short phrase, a group of words that is not a sentence, usually of about seven syllables, that tells about the topic. In my example “Amazing performance machine,” was my choice. If writing about a kitten you might write “Bundle of mischief and fun.”
  5. Find a picture or draw one to illustrate your Cinquain (optional but looks more professional). Type or neatly write up your final copy and you’ve finished!

To summarise, the structure of a Cinquain is as follows:

Line 1. One word, title, a noun
Line 2. Two adjectives, a comma in between them
Line 3. Three verbs ending in “ing” with commas in between them
Line 4. A phrase about the subject
Line 5. A synonym for the title, a noun

I have a challenge for you, now you know how to write a Cinquain, have a go at writing one yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.