Cinquain Poems

Happy Easter everyone! A few weeks ago, we were reading one of the many Junie B. Jones books that B is addicted to, and we had one of those moments of “we have to do this right now!”  We have those moments a lot, it seems, even if we don’t have the time or resources to do that marvelous thing right then. What can I say, it keeps us busy. And happy, too. How can you not be happy when life is taking you in a thousand different directions all the time, and all of them are an adventure in craziness?

I’m getting sidetracked. So there we were, B and I, waiting for K to finish up at karate lessons, when the Junie B. inspiration struck: let’s write a poem. You see, Junie B. and her grade 1 class were studying cinquain poems, and they had to write one together. Right now. So we did. Right then. My writing notebook came out of my purse (it’s always with me), along with a purple pen (because purple is the best colour for writing), and we got started.

Now, cinquain poems aren’t like regular poems. They’re rather more like haiku, with strict rules. You are only allowed to write five lines. The first line has only one word, and that’s the title for the poem. The second line has two words, adjectives, that describe the title. The third line has three words, action words (verbs), that are about the title. And, you guessed it, the fourth line has four words, any four words that express a thought or a feeling about the title. The last line is back to a single word, and it is a synonym of the title.

It took us a few tries to get the hang of it, but soon B was writing poems all by herself. Like this:

red, pink,
laughing, floating, loving
sitting on my Valentine

And this:

wet, thirsty
drinking, sipping, spilling
sliding down a waterslide

When K came through the doors after class, he was quick to join in (and rather put out that we’d gone ahead and started a project without him). Shortly afterwords, he had produced a couple of poems of his own:

cold, hard
melting, crunching, cracking
plop in my glass

fast, talented
dodging, skating, fighting
slapshot in the net

Can you tell he likes hockey?

We doodled with words for well over an hour, and B continued long after that, her spelling that interesting phonetically accurate but dictionarily-misspelled (and yes, I know “dictionarily” isn’t a word. It should be, though, shouldn’t it?).  After a long spate of furious scribbling and scribbling-out and “how do you spell…” and tongue-stuck-out concentration, she presented me with the most wonderful gift of poetry I have ever received.

worm and cuddli
hogin smiling teaching
sharing her whole life

Life just doesn’t get better than that.


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