Posts Tagged ‘cinquain’

This month, National Poetry Month 2023, I’ve been following the prompts on Ethical ELA, a virtual treasure of inspiration. But I keep writing about the same thing over and over. My father, my mother, my own role as a grandparent. I think when we write condensed lines, we push our deepest thoughts up to the surface. I’m trying to let that part of me flow where it wants (or needs) to flow. This week I’ve written two of these kinds of poems to #VerseLove. Prompts can be found here.

If you want to be a poet, I highly recommend joining in with #VerseLove. Just like the hashtag says, it’s all about love. Each day that I write, I feel wrapped in the arms of other writers, tenderly cared for. Putting your writing out there into the world is hard and intimidating. Finding a caring community is rare and special. Like the community of writers at Two Writing Teachers, the teachers at Ethical ELA have become my friends. I am grateful to all the writers there, especially the ones who seek out my writing amongst many and comment like wind beneath my wings.

Photo and poem by Margaret Simon.

I am saving my poems in a Google slide show which allows me to save each slide as an image and share it here. Above is a photo of my father and my granddaughter Stella in the summer of 2021.

Today’s Ethical ELA prompt was given by Jessica, a self-identifying cinquain.

I am a Grandmother

state of being
fertility startled
by faces of me reflected
in you.

Margaret Simon, draft
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

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On Sunday morning we paddled on Mother Earth’s church, the Bayou Teche. The day was near perfect with a little cloud cover and moderate temperatures. We invited friends to join us. We actually saw an alligator. He was a juvenile about 3 feet long sunning himself on some concrete rip-rap. I got a good picture of him. He was totally still, not spooked at all by our moving closer to him. He smiled for me.

Gator juvenile, downtown New Iberia, LA. photo by Margaret Simon

Bayou Cinquain

how light dances
on bayou’s belly rolls
washing us with soothing hopeful

Margaret Simon
Bayou Teche, New Iberia, LA (photo by Margaret Simon)

The Progressive Poem is with Janet today at Tabatha’s blog The Opposite of Indifference.

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Looking at the calendar-chart plan for this month, I realize I haven’t written a cinquain yet. This form is a five-lined verse with a syllable count 2, 4, 6, 8, 2. Yesterday was the most perfect spring day after a raging storm the night before. The air was breezy with a touch of cool. Perfect canoeing weather, so Jeff and I seized the day and paddled for a couple hours. One of our goals for each paddle is to clean up crap junk from the bayou. Yesterday we retrieved a basketball, a soccer ball, and a few cans and water bottles, one large piece of styrofoam. A small part, but we had a good time finding and trying to retrieve it.

how light dances
on bayou’s belly rolls
washing us with soothing hopeful

Margaret Simon, draft

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Poetry Friday is hosted this week Down Under with Kat Apel.

In Dictionary for a Better World, Charles Waters writes about Courage using a cinquain form. “Sometimes courage can be…” The form is simple: five lines with a syllable count of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2. Sometimes these simple forms open up possibilities for writing that we wouldn’t normally explore.

I’m listening to The Book of Hope with Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. I explored the topic with a cinquain to model for my students.

is hiding in plain sight
you can find poetry in your mind
look hard

Brayden, 3rd grade

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Poetry Friday posts are with Jone at Check it Out.

Image from Nola.com

What do you do when there’s a hurricane in the Gulf? Write a poem about it, of course. Here in South Louisiana, we are no strangers to the dangers of hurricanes. Hurricane Harvey is threatening, but all models show the brunt of the storm heading into west Texas, miles away from us. We will have rain, days and days of rain, which could lead to some flooding. That remains to be seen.

I asked my students to list all the words they could think of about hurricanes. Their lists included words like danger, wind, storm, and bigger words like magnificent and treacherous. We talked about the poetry form called a cinquain. We counted syllables in the words we had listed. Doom and gloom poems emerged.

The weather channel is on.  We are watching the progress.  These weather events are scary yet intriguing.  We can channel our thoughts and worries and fascination into words.

hurricane’s path
swirling charged red center
unwanted catastrophic storm
Gulf beast

–Margaret Simon

Dangerous floods
Treacherous destruction
Magnificent monstrous mammoth
–Noah, 6th grade

Jacob chose to write a free verse poem. I like to introduce forms, but also choice. There should always be choice.

Hurricane Harvey

A spinning circle of destruction
On a treacherous journey through ruined parts of Earth
Walking through this dark thick rain, trying to find home
I see the eye of this magnificent beast
I stare as the tornadoes and rain fly away in the sky
I see the Sun, I know that this monster of wind and rain is over.

–Jacob, 4th grade

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Poetry Friday is with Irene and Live your Poem

On Wednesday I presented to my students Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Writing the Rainbow” poetry project.  We were on the letter C for our poem-a-day writing, so we wrote crayon cinquains.  The cinquain syllable pattern is 2,4,6,8,2.

Amy suggested this video of Mr. Rogers’ visit to a crayon factory.  The kids loved it, especially when the crayons appear in the tray like magic.


I will share a few of our poems here, but you can go to our Kidblog to see more.



Erin’s orchid bouquet

Erin chose the crayon “orchid” and drew the picture above. I encouraged my students to use metaphor in their poems. Erin imagined that the orchid bouquet was a crown for a woodland princess.

Blooming Flower
Wonderful Pristine Crown
Perfect For A Woodland Princess
by Erin, 5th grade

When Madison colored in her journal with the crayon “Cadet Blue”, she saw a sky before the rain. I love how the name of the crayon informed her metaphor.

Cadet Blue Sky
Thunder Beating on Drums
Lightning Marching Through the Clouds
by Madison, 3rd grade

I randomly picked a crayon from the box of 24 crayons and got “blue bell.” Of course, at first I thought about Blue Bell Ice Cream. Then I did a Google image search and found bluebell flowers. I drew a picture in my journal using the blue crayon. When Lynzee saw my picture, she said “It’s a fairy skirt.” So I stole that and used it in my poem. This form is fun to work with because it makes you think harder to get the syllables right.

a fairy skirt
balancing on a branch
hang like church bells in the steeple
Ring! Ring!
by Margaret Simon

Go to Amy’s padlet to see more of this crayon color poetry craze.

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Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

Poetry Friday is with Katie at The Logonauts.

I hate snakes! I always have for as long as I can remember. I grew up running around the piney woods of Mississippi and now I live on a bayou in Louisiana. Snakes are a part of my world, but they terrify me.

This week one of the news stories that we poets responded to was about a snake coming out of a toilet in Texas. If you want to never look at a toilet the same way again, read this article.  I decided against posting a picture on my blog.  It was bad enough that I had to see it repeatedly on my Facebook feed.

The day this prompt was posted for Laura Shovan’s February ten found words writing project I was teaching cinquains to my students. They were writing them about their names. I chose to write about this snake menace. I enjoyed sharing the frightful article and resulting poem with them.

The rules for a cinquain are 5 lines with 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables in each line.

in the toilet
camouflaged cryptic sign
surprising an innocent boy

slamming down hard
killing snake in a clump
unknowing den of twenty three

perfect hiding
for slithering secrets
wondering when their diamonds
will shine

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Day 5 is with Liz today. Click here.

Day 5 is with Liz today. Click here.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Join the Spiritual Thursday round up at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

For Spiritual Thursday, we are reflecting on the word “Merciful” today, Bobbie Ann Taylor’s One Little Word.

foggy sunrise

A Merciful Cinquain

clouds my vision
like fog in the morning
drapes the coming sunshine in

Every morning I drive to my school in the country while the sun rises.  I am often in awe of the way the light plays in the sky.  This image of fog covering the sun made me think about my feelings of failure.  These are natural, I suppose, as a teacher who cares deeply for her work with children and as a writer putting her words out to the world every day.

Liz Steinglass inspired me to use a cinquain form (2, 4, 6, 8, then 2 syllable lines.)

One tenet of faith that I have trouble grasping is mercy.  We are already forgiven even before we ask it.  When I fail, I tend to wallow in self-doubt.  I need to repeat the mantra I am worthy until I believe it.

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow all of my days.  I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23

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Join the roundup at Space City Scribes

Join the roundup at Space City Scribes

Join the Chalk-a-bration at Betsy Hubbard's site Teaching Young Writers.

Join the Chalk-a-bration at Betsy Hubbard’s site Teaching Young Writers.

What is Chalk-a-bration? The brain child of Betsy Hubbard of the Two Writing Teachers. The last day of the month is dedicated to chalking poems. And what better way to end National Poetry Month! My students have been looking forward to this day for months. (We were on spring break for the last day of March.) Now it is May Day, and we decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo early with cinquain poems.

Read, Write, Think is a go-to site for me for all sorts of literacy lessons and fabulous student interactives. We pulled up the Theme Poems student interactive. Together as a class, we chose a shape, brainstormed words, and wrote a cinquain. Then it was outside time, playing with words, shapes, chalk, and shadows. Enjoy!

ice cream cone

Kaiden chalking

Raindrop chalk poem

Lani chalk balloon

GT Allstars poem

Shadows hold the sun

Sun Cinquain

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