Friday, November 13, 2009

Poetry Friday--"November Night"

Photo by lapstrake

You've heard of the form cinquain. Do you know who created it? A woman named Adelaide Crapsey. Crapsey lived a short life of 36 years, from 1878 to 1914. Much of her writing deals with the subject of death, but this lovely cinquain can be read simply as a description of what happens at this time of year.

November Night

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

If you'd like to try a cinquain of your own, here are the simple "rules":

1. five lines
2. unrhymed
3. the first and fifth lines have 2 syllables; the second has 4, the third has 6, and the fourth has 8 syllables
4. usually with an iambic cadence

In elementary schools cinquain are often taught with this added element:

1. line one contains the subject name (noun)
2. line two is a description (adjective/s)
3. line three is actions (three words ending in "ing")
4. line four is additional description (a simple phrase)
5. line five is another name for the subject (noun)

Here's an example:

noisy, nosey
strutting, flapping, crowing
boss of all the barnyard chickens
King Cluck
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

It's a good lesson on parts of speech, but it makes for a lousy poem!

Visit GottaBook for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.


Barbara said...

You know, Diane, little by little you're sucking me into the world of poetry.

Melissa said...

I love Crapsey's cinquain. Haunting. (I also love the image you chose for this week.)

Mary Lee said...

I'm SO glad to find out the cinquains are more than just the grammar lesson they turn into in schools! This year when my students dabble in short forms of poetry in April, they'll write the REAL kind!

Crapsey definitely got November leaves just right!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

You are so right. I have never liked cinquains the way they are taught in school. Crapsey's is lovely though. Thanks so much for the poetry & photo.

I'm Jet . . . said...

Nice, Diane. Both of them . . .