Posted by: roughwighting | March 28, 2014

Ode to Writers Everywhere Writing Instructor

The refrigerator hums like a turtle in a small trickling stream. Soft, contented, but with a slight hiccup now and then.

I try to ignore the soothing hum and continue to talk on, too loud at times, but there’s a cougher in the group, and I don’t want my words drowned out.

What an expression: how can words drown? Well, I guess the same way my ideas seem to drown at times. When I’m trying so hard to express myself, I get intense, yet I see a dazed expression on my listeners’ faces, so it must be me, my words, that are drowning them in boredom.

Oh shoot, am I boring? I stop the conversation mid-stream, and no one seems to notice. If a small waterfall suddenly stopped in the middle of Yosemite, you’d think those around would notice. The hikers and bikers, the park rangers and sightseers would shout out: “What in the world?”

But no shouts of concern from my listeners when I shut my mouth and halt my waterfall of a fascinating story about writing. Well, I have been told that my stories can go on and on, and on, for paragraphs when they could be just a sentence or two.

So I order them to practice what I have just preached about Cinquains.

Adelaide Crapsey, poetry, cinquain

A 5-line poem, invented by the early 20th century poet Adelaide Crapsey and inspired by the Japanese tanka, with 22 syllables arranged in a distinct pattern, no mandatory rhyme scheme, stanzas of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables. Crapsey always titled her cinquains, effectively utilizing the title as a sixth line.

WRITE!” I command.

But before I begin I pause in our little writing room (a converted kitchen/dining room, in fact), which vibrates with the sound of fingers tapping on flat black keys and ink sliding against paper: a happy sound; a creative, invigorating, satisfying sound; while the low hum of a dog’s sleepy snores surround my group in a warm writing hug.

cinquain, poetry, writing








Now, a challenge – do you dare create your own cinquain here?



  1. I love your Cinquain Pam, and the very soothing, warm and gently self-depreciating description of a writing class. Ok, thanks for the challenge, can’t resist having a go…Love, H xxx


    Breathe in
    sacred life pumps
    magic round my body
    collecting at hot fingertips
    I touch…

    • BEAUTIFUL – and captures your magic….

  2. Yes

    I’ll try
    this special verse
    and count the syllables
    just to see if I can do it
    I did!

    • Humor AND success. I think cinquains are good word puzzles for the brain.

  3. No way, Jose. My mind doesn’t work like that. Can’t do haiku either. However, I love the imagery of mixing the brain and soul in ink when we write.

    • I believe it’s so true – the mixing. I think that’s why we like writing so much.

  4. My words
    Tumble jumble
    Then I edit a lot
    Then I send it to along to Shawn
    Love her

  5. This is sort of like writing haiku. I have a bunch of those. Cadence is much different though. I had to count with my fingers.

    • Yes, the cadence is so different with a cinquain – and the counting of fingers is a necessity. Good job!

  6. Well, I’ll try again now that I’ve read the instructions more carefully. I was so focused on the total number of syllables that I totally forgot there was an instruction for each line too.

    Reach out.
    Feel the heart force.
    Become the conduit
    for love that heals and comforts pain
    and fear.

    • You get extra points for “conduit” – a great 3-syllable word!
      Beautiful cinquain.
      X O

  7. I absolutely love your cinquain, Pam. “…we mix the brain and the soul in ink.” Wonderful!

    • Thanks – as happens many times when I write, I’m not sure WHAT will come forth. I think my soul mixed with my brain on my cinquain. (oh my, and I think I just rhymed) Ha -love how writing constantly surprises us.

  8. I’m not good at these things – but I love reading yours!:D

    • Thank you thank you for reading about cinquains, even if they’re not your thing. The writers in my class groaned, believe me, but they keep coming back, thank goodness!

  9. I don’t know if I will try or not, but pleased to read yours and hear the words you are saying. Keep that waterfall running, Pamela.

    • I’m not sure I could stop my waterfall, even if I tried!:-)

  10. OK. I’ll give it a go:

    Makes me function
    Just enough to make me
    Notice that I’m not functioning
    At all.

    • Send a doodle with that and you get an A+. Loved it!!

  11. Sweet… and I don’t think you are boring at all!!!:-)

    • Well, I do try and mix it up a lot!:-) Thanks for reading – now where’s your cinquain????

      • Uhm..uhm…uhm….I will do one later! I’m off to school right now!!!:-)

  12. Escellent post, Pam, but have you thought that maybe people should be better listeners? I wouldn’t put all the blame on yourself. As a society we don’t stop and let others speak so much.

    I am working on my 2, 4, 5, 8 & 2 and will get back to you, xo LMA

    • Tis true, but I must say, my writers are excellent listeners; I just like to act insecure at times. :-0

  13. ok, here goes;

    I wish
    There was a way
    to pour love into your
    soul so you would know you’re precious
    to me

    xo, LMA

    • A love sonnet, written in cinquain form. The image is hauntingly beautiful – to pour love into a soul. Magnificent.

Love to hear your comments.

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