10-line Poem Challenge #21: Mirror Cinquain

Hello, readers. Those of you who see my 10-line poem challenge each week have come to expect samples of the previous week’s featured form at the outset. Well, I’ve changed things up a bit. They are still here, but they are now behind the presentation of the new form. So, keep reading, enjoy the links when you come to them, and then write your own Mirror Cinquain to be included in next week’s article. 

A Cinquain is a 5-line poem (quintet) with a set line length of 2-4-6-8-2 syllables. It does not rhyme, although I suppose it could rhyme if you wanted it to.

A Mirror Cinquain, then, is a 10-line poem (decastich) made up of two Cinquains, where the second is reversed, forming a mirror image of the first.

So in summary, the Mirror Cinquain is

  • A decastitch (10-line stanza) with an emphasis on the syllabic count of each line.
  • Syllabic count: 2-4-6-8-2-2-8-6-4-2
  • It should express a complete thought and may be on any theme and express any mood.
  • Rhyme is optional.


Below are two samples for you. As I wrote the first one, I stared at the words “Mirror Cinquain” while waiting for an idea to come to mind. Then I noticed that mirror has two syllables, and I heard that famous rhyme in my head, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of us all?” This gave me the idea of putting mirror, mirror together in the middle of the poem. The rest of it came as I thought back to a time when I had two mirrors in the bathroom and could position them in such a way that it seemed my reflection went on into infinity. Thus the Mirror Cinquain became a true mirror of itself.

The second poem is a declaration of love from a man to a woman. I also wrote a sequel of sorts to this poem. Look for it to appear on my blog this coming Thursday…. I did not make this poem a literal reflection, but I did make line 10 reflect line 1; and the center lines are the highlight, for he is almost afraid to ask, and yet he simply must know the answer to the question.

Menagerie in the Mirror

Looking at the
Sea of smiling faces
Casting my reflection in the
Casting my reflection in the
Sea of smiling faces
Looking at the

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

With All My Heart

“I do
Not have a lot
Of what this world calls wealth,
But I have enough.” Then pausing,
“Do you
Love me?
For, darling, I love you with all
My heart.” He held his breath.
“Oh, yes!” she said.
“I do!”

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a Mirror Cinquain. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Choose a topic. It can be anything. If you’re struggling for an idea, you might consider the Daily Prompts from The Daily Post
  2. DON’T worry about rhyme, as it’s not necessary here.
  3. DO keep a handle on the syllable count for each line.
  4. Try to avoid filler words. Instead, use a thesaurus to find precise words that give you the right syllable count for each line.
  5. Don’t be afraid to break a word if need be, but avoid it if possible. Or perhaps you may want to go crazy with word breaks, so as to enhance a humorous mood.
  6. It just so happens that I made lines 1 and 10 the same in both sample poems, but this is not a rule. They only have to be 2 syllables, not necessarily identical, so don’t feel as though you must also do that.
  7. And of course, when you are finished, share your poem with the rest of us.

Don’t know how? Follow these simple steps…

  1. Write your blog post.
  2. Include the tag Decastich Challenge or 10LPC
  3. Include a pingback/link to this post in your post so I can find you.
  4. Publish your post.

Last Week’s Poems

Please enjoy these fine Double Tetractys poems from last week’s study….

Dig Deeper

To find more samples and to learn from those who taught me, check out these sites. All links open in a separate tab so you can easily find your way back here.

Poet’s Collective ~ The forms on this website are not organized in alphabetical order, but he does have at least one sample poem for each form, he even has tags for rhyme scheme. He also has a visual template for every form so you can see the rhyme scheme and stress patterns, as applicable. That is extremely helpful.

Sol Magazine ~ This resource covers much more than just 10-line poems.

“Metric Forms from Pathways for the Poet” ~ This is an outline of information from Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg (1977), a book for and by educators. This resource also includes more than just 10-line poems, but it helped to fill in the gaps where my other sources were a bit scanty with their information.

Shadow Poetry ~ This is my favorite resource for learning about poetic forms (and not just the decastich), but I have discovered that there is ever so much more to learn than what I can find here. This is, however, a very good place to start.


28 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #21: Mirror Cinquain”

    1. Thank you, Jenna. It’s been fun for me too. I feel as though I’ve grown a lot as a writer doing these 10-line poems, most of which were invented as classroom exercises.

      I love your subject as well as what you did with it. Your mirror cinquain is lovely! I can’t wait to share it next week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww! That’s so kind of you to say. And I’m glad to encourage you. The way I see it, blogging is like a relay race, and encouragement is the baton we pass from one to the other as we run this “race” together, sharing our various messages. What I have received, I have given.

        Liked by 1 person

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