Cynical Cinquain: Poetry for Post-Education

woman book

The Art of Cinquain


Futile rubbish

Boring fucking bitching

I have no patience for cinquain



Above is my first teenage attempt at a style of poetry called didactic cinquain. It has a series of rules that I felt restricted my creativity too much as I sat in an uninspiring classroom, esconced between the guy who made everything about vampires and the guy who made everything about boobs.

Which is ironic, given that the week before I wrote this:

On the Modern Haiku

Remove the discipline

From a discipline, and what

Remains to be read?

As you can see, I have a somewhat complicated relationship with poetry. Probably something to do with all those literature and language courses I took, which all involved poetry units despite me having no real use for it.

Many adults who aren’t poets, English teachers or ongoing students have a distant relationship with poetry. Specifically, they don’t have one. However much we might like it when it does cross our path, we scarcely have reason to seek poetry. And much less reason to engage fully in the experience, to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and churn out a line or two ourselves.

This is probably why I have four collections of poetry on my computer written between high school and the day I left university and probably four poems written since then. I have, in the memo section of my phone, a collection of poetic thoughts, the teeny mind wordy magics I onced used to make written wordy magics. Fleeting moments of inspiration I could call on if ever the situation ever required an off-the-cuff limerick about student debt or a bit of free verse about the Christmas Trees of June… which is probably never going to happen.

I sometimes wish, and maybe we all do a little, that I had space in my life dedicated to poetry. I used to think poetry was using time that could have been devoted to other things, but maybe it belonged there and should be accommodated once more. Because, after all, this is what I wrote at three o’clock in the morning many years ago when I ought to have been writing an essay.

Distracted again

Why am I still doing this

Thinking in haiku