U is for unit

Another term for unit in poetry is “stanza.” There are different types of stanzas in poetry, some with rhyme patterns and some without. Generally, the name of the stanza has to do with the number of lines in the poem. The shortest would be the couplet (2). Then there’s tercet (3), quatrain (4), cinquain (5), sestet (6), septet (7), and octave (8). Another type of poem that has five lines is called the quintain.

The cinquain

A cinqain is a stanza that consists of five lines. It is unrhymed. The format of the cinquain is 2 syllables in the first line, 4 syllables in the second line, 6 syllables in the third line, 6 syllables in the fourth line, and 2 syllables in the fifth line. Below is my spontaneous attempt at a cinquain. The topic that I will write about will be feeling tired. I have been busy, learning about the school district budget so I can write an article about it for the May 10th issue of the Island Dispatch. I will readily admit that, when I was in school, my worst subject was math. When I started journalism school, I celebrated the idea that I would never have to do math again. Well that didn’t work out very well. I have to write about budgets. So many numbers! Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.

Oh, and then, there are elections. We are holding a special election for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives next Tuesday, to replace Brian Higgins, who resigned from Congress and become the president of Shea’s Buffalo, an historic theater in downtown Buffalo. In my opinion, he made the right choice. Being the president of a theater would be much more fun job. Definitely more entertaining. Brian Higgins cited the dysfunction in government as a main reason for his decision. In other words, toxic. There are people in Congress (I’m not going to name names) who really are windbags. They have nothing productive to say, but they say it anyway, just to hear themselves talk. Imagine having to listen to that drivel every single day? Um. No. So I’m an election inspector and we are called “the face of democracy.” We make sure that voting is a positive experience for everyone who comes to our polling sites. Right now, we are overseeing early voting.

The whole thing is making me feel really… tired.

I hear my bed
singing to me at night
come to me, my sweetheart

the quintain

A quintain is another type of five-line poem. This one has a rhyme scheme of A-B-A-B-B. But I don’t have to count syllables.

So… here goes.

The other day, I saw snow
and I thought nature was so very mean
I wanted the snow and the wind to just go
so I could see leaves so sweetly green
soft like flowers, covered with a glossy sheen

the quatrain

A quatrain is a four-line stanza. I am going to write two quatrains, with different rhyming schemes. The first one is and A-A-B-B pattern. Emily Dickenson used this format in her poem, “Because I could not stop for death.”

I want to see the sky painted in bright streaks
of red, yellow, purple and blue before I sleep
in between the clouds in wisps and peaks
radiant colors that cause me to weep

The second rhyming scheme that I’m going to share will be the A-A-B-A pattern. This was the pattern that was used by Robert Frost in his poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

I wish to tell the story of the nearby land
and of spring unfolding everywhere I scanned
of sudden colors in a space so dull and gray
such joy in my heart for a space no longer bland

4 thoughts on “U is for unit”

  1. I so adore the pictures you post on your blog articles – such excellent taste that you have! You are broadening my horizons Alice, and teaching me new vocabulary – which is wonderful, especially at my age – to keep learning new things! Thank you Alice 🙂 p.s. I enjoy your poetry as always.

  2. Your painting/drawing above the cinquain reminds me of fabric we had in our shop and made window treatments for a client! I love reading your poetry as much as I love your drawings.

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