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Global Cinquains - Joy Carter Wilson

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Global Cinquains

Steel blades
Rhythm pushers
Gliding across frozen canals
is music to the Netherland's
Dutch Souls

of Cordoba
Perched on silk thread pillows
Anxious to learn Koran and be

In Broome
Seductive place
Mangoes plopping plop plop
Invigorating sea breezes
sweep beach

Cloaked clad
Chile woman
Scoured by winds gusting sand
Weathers dry high plains following
her sheep

Artic sea bears
Crouch summer ice melting
Waiting for autumn ice to form

Young French artist
tattooes New York City
Violins romance customers
-Doves coo-


Joy Carter Wilson for the Intercultural Platform.


Note by Joy Carter Wilson

CINQUAIN- unrhymed poems consisting of 22 syllables distributed as 2-4-6-8-2 in five lines. Derived by Adelaide Crapsey around 1909/10.

Perhaps as early as in 1909, the shy and sensitive Adelaide Crapsey had read A Hundred Verses from Old Japan, William N. Porter's translations of the Hyakunin Isshu anthology and From the Eastern Sea by Yone Nogushis. In Adelaide's notebook she lists eleven tanka and eight haiku she had translated from Antholgie de la litterature japonaise des origines au XX siecle from Marcel Revon. So influenced, she developed her own poetic system which she then called cinquain.

These short, unrhymed poems consisting of twenty-two syllables distributed as 2-4-6-8-2, in five lines were related to but not copied from Japanese literary styles. Though she devised this form in 1909-1910, most of the fifteen poems she saved were written between 1911 and 1914. An early death at 37 from tuberculosis prevented her from exploring the genre further.

Published posthumously, in 1915, with her other works as The Complete Poems, cinquains came to be well-known only through the efforts of Carl Sandburg in his anthology, Cornhuskers, 1918 and Louis Utermeyer's Modern American Poetry, 1919. The most famous of the few Crapsey cinquains from her The Complete Poems is:


These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow...the hour
Before the dawn... the mouth of one
Just dead


Joy Carter Wilson has also published haiku on this site and more cinquains.

Please, click here to read more about her.

Notice © 1999 IP and the author

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