Cinquain Poems

Cinquain is a concise form of poetry consisting of five lines. The structure typically follows a specific syllable count per line: 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables, respectively.

Cinquain poems are known for their brevity, requiring poets to succinctly convey their ideas and emotions. Despite their short length, cinquains can be emotionally impactful, capturing moments of beauty, introspection, or contemplation.

The simplicity of the form allows for a focused and condensed expression of thought, making cinquain poems accessible and engaging for both readers and writers.

My Garden — like the Beach

by Emily Dickinson

‘My Garden — like the Beach’ by Emily Dickinson is a beautiful, short poem. It compares the speaker’s garden to the beach and the summer to the sea. Read the full poem, with a complete analysis.

This poem is also a cinquain, meaning that the poem is five lines long. The single, five-line stanza is a perfect example of a cinquain, also known as a quintain, and the amount of information that can be conveyed within a few short lines.

My Garden—like the Beach—

Denotes there be—a Sea—

That's Summer—

My Kate

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘My Kate’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a sorrowful elegy dedicated to a morally righteous and important woman who has passed away. 

This poem is written in quintains, or cinquains, meaning five-line stanzas. This remains true for the first six stanzas that follow a rhyme scheme of AABBC. The final seventh stanza is a quatrain.

She was not as pretty as women I know,

And yet all your best made of sunshine and snow

Drop to shade, melt to nought in the long-trodden ways,

While she's still remembered on warm and cold days--



by William Stafford

‘November’ by William Stafford is a heart-wrenching and important poem that was inspired by the WWII bombing of Hiroshima. 

This poem is made up of two five-line stanzas, known as cinquains or quintains. The form is not highly influential when it comes to the reader's experience of the text, making it a less-than-important example of a cinquain poem.

From the sky in the form of snow

comes the great forgiveness.

Rain grown soft, the flakes descend

and rest; they nestle close, each one


by Elizabeth Alexander

‘Equinox’ by Elizabeth Alexander is a heartfelt poem about death and how all living things are forced to contend with it. The speaker uses a creative metaphor comparing bees on the equinox to her grandmother. 

This poem is a cinquain, or a quintain, meaning that the poem is composed of five lines, or five-line stanzas. The poem is written in free verse, without a specific rhyme scheme, but the stanza are consistently five lines.

Now is the time of year when bees are wild

and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped

loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants

in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.

Christmas Everywhere

by Phillips Brooks

‘Christmas Everywhere’ by Phillips Brooks is an uplifting Christmas and religious poem about the power of the season. The poet implies that if people wanted to, they could carry the same feeling of faithfulness throughout the whole year. 

Most of the stanzas in this poem are composed of five lines, making them cinquains, also known as quintains. These five-line stanzas are very easy to read and use repetition to enhance their structure.

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!

Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,

Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,

Christmas where snow-peaks stand solemn and white,

After great pain, a formal feeling comes

by Emily Dickinson

‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’ by Emily Dickinson speaks thoughtfully and emotionally on sorrow. The speaker delves into what it’s like soon after experiencing a loss.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –

The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’

And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

I like to see it lap the Miles

by Emily Dickinson

‘I like to see it lap the Miles’ by Emily Dickinson is a thoughtful poem. It explores themes of industrialization, power, and human ingenuity.

I like to see it lap the Miles -

And lick the Valleys up -

And stop to feed itself at Tanks -

And then - prodigious step

To Know Just How He Suffered Would Be Dear

by Emily Dickinson

‘To Know Just How He Suffered Would Be Dear’ by Emily Dickinson is about suffering. The speaker explores what others experience, particularly one person she loved dearly.

To know just how He suffered — would be dear —

To know if any Human eyes were near

To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze —

Until it settle broad — on Paradise —

Explore more Cinquain poems

Whose cheek is this?

by Emily Dickinson

‘Whose cheek is this?’ by Emily Dickinson is a complicated poem in which the poet describes finding a flower that metaphorically resembles a dead girl.

Whose cheek is this?

What rosy face

Has lost a blush today?

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