Death Looms

Several years ago, I became interested in the cinquain, a deceptively simple verse form invented (or, rather refined) around a hundred years ago by a poet who died too young.  The poet’s name was Adelaide Crapsey, and part of my interest was simply that my mother’s name was Adelaide, and I’d never known a poet by that name.

The talented Ms. Crapsey was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the brain at the age of 32, and died a few years later.  All of her later work is focused on the idea of approaching death. The following cinquain, to which I have given a title in the Crapsey manner, was written in her honor:


Death looms.
Once, I cowered.
Now, I give anxiety
Another name; I turn my head
And wait.

Another Anti-War Poem

Some time ago, I blogged about the cinquain  and what I called the semicinquain.   This little verse, from 2003, is written in yet another variation of the cinquain, which might be called the hypercinquain, or cinquain on steroids.   The syllabic scheme is 2/2/4/6/8/2  as opposed to the cinquain, which is 2/4/6/8/2.   Dilemma is explained here.



Why, that’s
No choice
At All.  To choose
A war or Sadaam. Why,
Iraqis must be grateful for
Their choice.

Is at the bar,
On trial before the World.
Outside, a lynch mob menaces
Its folk.

They say:
We must destroy
Iraq in order that
A new Iraq be built, or so
They say.

I say:
No war
But for defense.
No blood without a cause.
Why can’t the cowboys hear us say:
No war!

the semicinquain

The cinquain, a haiku-like verse-form, was invented in 1915 by Adelaide Crapsey

Here is an example of a semicinquain, a verse form I invented in 2011.   The semicinquain is a variant of the didactic cinquain and consists of five lines, the first of which is one syllable, the second two syllables, the third three syllables the fourth four syllables, and the last one syllable again.  Unlike the didactic cinquain, there are no rules as to what the syllables can express.

Set it free.
Give it wings to