CPC #3: Didactic Cinquain

Cinquain Poetry Challenge #3

The Didactic Cinquain

How long has it been since you sat in an English grammar lesson? If it’s been a while, then today is your lucky day! Why? Because you are about to get a little refresher course… in the form of poetry! What could be better than that?

I have no idea which teacher originally invented the Didactic Cinquain for use in the classroom, but the idea caught on and has been in wide circulation for many years. In fact, I wrote didactic cinquains in my high school English class back in the ’80’s. The formula is fairly simple, and its purpose is to help students develop a sense of how words relate to one another. It falls just short of being a parts-of-speech poem, due to L4 breaking from that mold. I suppose you could get technical there, but that would make the poem more complicated than it needs to be.

Line 1 = one single word = NOUN
Line 2 = two words that describe that noun = ADJECTIVES
Line 3 = three words that express action and end in -ing = VERBS
Line 4 = a four-word phrase about the way the noun makes you feel = PHRASE
Line 5 = a synonym of the initial noun = NOUN

Incidentally, the lexical structure of the Didactic Cinquain (1-2-3-4-1 words) mirrors the syllabic structure of the Japanese Lanturne (1-2-3-4-1 syllables).

One more thing: the Didactic Cinquain does not have to be centered. I center mine because I think they look good that way, but you may present yours any way you like.

Capitalization at the beginning of each line is optional as well. Back in the 1980’s—unless your name was e.e. cummings—you always capitalized the first word of each line of poetry, but nowadays the trend is to make everything lowercase.


These two samples are mine and were both written when I was in high school. As you can see, on L2 in both of them, I wrote a phrase that included an adjective, but one of the words was a noun, so technically I did not follow the rule. Also, in the first one, it could be argued that “homework” in L5 is not a fitting synonym for “school” in L1. In the more recent poem, which I’ll be sharing for the link-up, I followed the rules more closely.


Students studying
Teaching, learning, reading
Pencils, pens, and books



Children everywhere
Laughing, playing, working
Never a dull moment

Write Your Own

Now it’s time for you to write your own Didactic Cinquain.

    1. Choose a one-word theme (noun).
    2. Write two words that both describe that noun (adjectives).
    3. Write three action words, ending with -ing, that relate to your noun (verbs).
    4. Write a 4-word phrase that shows how your noun makes you feel.
    5. Write another noun that is similar to the original one (synonym).
    6. Publish to your blog.
    7. Come back here and click the link to add your post to the linkup.
    8. Encourage your friends to join the party!
    9. Read other people’s posts and leave a comment.

    You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

    Click here to enter


6 Replies to “CPC #3: Didactic Cinquain”

Questions or Comments?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Daily Spur

Your daily prompts to spur on your writing


Author, Poet, Blogger, Father, Reader And More

Simply Chronically Ill

thoughts from someone who lives it

Astra Poetica

Exploring a Universe of Poetry: a 52-Week Poetic Form Challenge

Poems for Warriors

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps 147:3

flashlight batteries - Ali Grimshaw

writing circles & poetry to keep your light on


Songwriter / Guitarist

Natalie Breuer

Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.

Hannah Spuler

Bringing truth, goodness and beauty to children~ one whimsical (and sometimes silly!) story at a time.

%d bloggers like this: