Cinquains & Connotations

plus Parodies & Personification

Last week, I taught about cinquains, connotations, parodies, and personification in both of my English classes.  Their assignment was to write a cinquain using Adelaide Crapsey's formula, which contains a total of twenty-two syllables divided into five lines as follows:

2, 4, 6, 8, and then ends with another 2-syllable line.  


While their assignment did not require using a particular connotation, we also discussed how word choices change the connotation, the perception, of the work.


An example of cinquain utilizing positive connotations is


"The Pearl" by Avis Harley



An oyster shell

Glows a drop of moonlight,

Polished by the stars when it fell

Through the night.



My poem is meant to be a parody of Harley's using negative connotations of how that beautiful pearl is created:


"Beautiful Irritants" by Giselle Ates

(January 13, 2013)



Oysters can't scratch

Or remove grains of sand;

By covering their irritants,

Pearls form.


Another one of my cinquains using negative connotations is


"Self-Control" by Giselle Ates

(January 2014)



Only breathing

Silent thoughts screaming--No!

Release me!  Unleash me!  Right now!



My older students were required to use personification in their cinquains.  Personification is simply making something that is not human seem human.


Here are a few of their cinquains from January 2014.  Which ones do you think captured both Adelaide Crapsey's cinquain form and the literary technique of personification?


“Majestic Mountains” by Campbell Christian (10th grade)



With white snow caps

Rest and gaze toward God,

Firmly planted so all may see

The King!


"The Ninth Hour" by Miryam Gabriel (11th grade)



Loud the clouds speak

Of yon man's death upon a tree.

They say He dies for you and me

In shame.


"Crucify" by Miryam Gabriel (11th grade)



Son of Joseph,

And of the Most High God,

Did stand and face the cries of men:



"Spring Sings" by Dorie Chen (11th grade)



How the birds sing

Trees start to awaken,

Green emerges from its slumber,



“The Love of the Sun” by Abby Dover (11th grade)



The sun loves me


It never ever runs away.

Warm up!


“Spring” by Emily Baggett (5th grade)



A Light breeze blows

Newly blooming flowers

Decorating the green meadow

In spring.


“The Forest” by Parker Stockett (10th grade)



Eyes wide and clear

See giants live and dead

Towering kings against the sky

They watch.


“Black Death” by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


Black Death

The end is near.

The reaper approaches.

It’s time at last; my days are done.

The end.


"Quiet, Silent" by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)



Quiet, silent

Watching me constantly

They know my thought and mimic me



"Holes" by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


Cat claws

They leave their marks

Making holes in my skin

Red liquid starts to seep and leak



“Luck” by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


Good Luck

Clovers, horseshoes

Rabbits and pitch, black cats

Ladders, mirrors and umbrellas

Bad Luck


“Swim All Day” by Talei Brown (4th grade)




Free, happy, amazing,

Challenging deeper and deeper

Such fun.


“My Sisters” by Talei Brown (4th grade)



I love them so.

They make people happy.

And what will I be without them?



“Art” by Talei Brown (4th grade)


Great fun!

Sculpting, painting,

Recycling my stuff.

What will I create all alone?

Don’t know.


"Friendship" by Talei Brown (4th grade)



It is so great

Showing it is easy

It's really nice to friendship



"Monster Mystery" by  Amelia Cline (4th grade--April 2015)



No one sees it

Hiding in the water

Only fuzzy pictures taken