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Tinker

Traditional Cinquain in the style of Victor Hugo

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
French Verse

A Cinquain is any poem or stanza in 5 lines. The words cinquain, quintain, quintet are interchangeable, French, Latin and Italian. There are a multitude of stanzaic forms that use 5 lines as a frame. Some of the more popular are the French traditional Cinquain, the American Cinquain, sometimes called the Crapsey Cinquain and the Spanish Quintilla

The traditional French Cinquain of medieval French origin, dates from the 11th century. In the 19th century it was revived by Victor Hugo.

The elements of the Traditional French Cinquain in the style of Victor Hugo are:

  1. in English most often written in iambic tetrameter but can also be written in iambic pentameter.
  2. stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains. (5 line stanzas)
  3. rhymed with varying rhyme schemes, most often ababb, or abaab or abccb.

Night Dwellers by Judi Van Gorder

Suspended with a watchman's care,
the hawk-eyed moon directs the night.
Below, mice dart... alert, aware
they must avoid the barn owl's stare,
his razor talons sharpen fright.

A 'coon disturbs a garbage lid,
the crash exposes nature's clown.
And me, I'd long succumbed and slid
from bed to download visions mid
attempts to paint with verb and noun.

Reason's for Attendance by Philip Larkin (1922-1985)                            

The trumpet's voice, loud and authoritative,
Draws me a moment to the lighted glass
To watch the dancers - all under twenty-five -
Solemnly on the beat of happiness.-
Or so I fancy, sensing the smoke and sweat,

The wonderful feel of girls. Why be out there ?
But then, why be in there? Sex, yes, but what
Is sex ? Surely to think the lion's share
Of happiness is found by couples - sheer
Inaccuracy, as far as I'm concerned.

What calls me is that lifted, rough-tongued bell
(Art, if you like) whose individual sound
Insists I too am individual.It speaks;
I hear; others may hear as well,
But not for me, nor I for them; and so

With happiness. Therefor I stay outside,
Believing this, and they maul to and fro,
Believing that; and both are satisfied,
If no one has misjudged himself. Or lied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning (1812-1889)

THE rain set early in to-night,
--- The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
--- And did its worst to vex the lake:
--- I listen'd with heart fit to break.                                  5
When glided in Porphyria; straight
--- She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneel'd and made the cheerless grate
--- Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
--- Which done, she rose, and from her form                 10
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
--- And laid her soil'd gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
--- And, last, she sat down by my side
--- And call'd me. When no voice replied,                      15
She put my arm about her waist,
--- And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
--- And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
--- And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,                         20
Murmuring how she loved me-she
--- Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor,
To set its struggling passion free
--- From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
--- And give herself to me for ever.                               25
But passion sometimes would prevail,
--- Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
--- For love of her, and all in vain:
--- So, she was come through wind and rain.              30
Be sure I look'd up at her eyes
--- Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipp'd me; surprise
--- Made my heart swell, and still it grew
--- While I debated what to do.---                                  35

That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
--- Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
--- In one long yellow string I wound
--- Three times her little throat around,                          40
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
--- I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
--- I warily oped her lids: again
--- Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain.                    45

And I untighten'd next the tress
--- About her neck; her cheek once more
Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss:
--- I propp'd her head up as before,
--- Only, this time my shoulder bore                              50
Her head, which droops upon it still:
--- The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
--- That all it scorn'd at once is fled,
--- And I, its love, am gain'd instead!                              55
Porphyria's love: she guess'd not how
--- Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
--- And all night long we have not stirr'd,
---And yet God has not said a word!                              60

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