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Poetic Flight Pattern of a Butterfly Cinquain

May 18, 2022

Poetic Flight Pattern of a Butterfly Cinquain and an American Cinquain

By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                Although I have been familiar with the poetic form called the American cinquain for over a year, I finally learned of the poetic flight pattern of a butterfly cinquain on April 3 of this year–thanks to another poet in my writers’ group.  Of course, I had to try to give flight to one of my own butterfly cinquains.  You will find information about writing your own butterfly cinquain and a sample butterfly cinquain right after information about the American cinquain and the five-line sample.  While the first sample poem is a

Fanciful image of a poem, the second example is a realistic poem brimming with tasty memories of Binole’s Restaurant.

                In 1911, the poet Adelaide Crapsey, of New York, created the poetic form called the American Cinquain.  During National Poetry Month of 2021, I became intrigued with the poetic form.  Before I share the numbers of syllables for each line of the cinquain, I will tell you a little about Ms. Crapsey.

                Born in Brooklyn, on September 9, 1878, Adelaide Crapsey grew up in Rochester, New York.  Adelaide attended a college preparatory school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she excelled in many ways, including playing and refereeing basketball.  Later, at Vassar College, Ms. Crapsey managed the basketball team, but was also “class poet” for three years and edited the literary publication of the college. 

                After graduation, Ms. Crapsey returned to Kenosha to teach at her alma mater.  Soon after, her health began to deteriorate and continued to limit the fulfillment of her ambitions.  Eventually she was diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Throughout her coping with this disease, Ms. Crapsey continued to write.  Influenced by Haikus and Tankas, Ms. Crapsey developed the American Cinquain in 1911–not long before her passing on October 9, 1914, at the young age of 36.

                Besides being a poem of five lines, whose first and last lines contain two syllables each and whose middle lines consist of four, six, and eight syllables–the American Cinquain is unrhymed and should produce a visual image.  You may also google and read more about cinquains and about Ms. Crapsey online.  My hope is that more of you will try this poetic short form of the American cinquain.

* * *

Riding Palomino Poems

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa


skies of morning

bring imagination

for souls to ride the day upon


* * *

                Instead of five poetic lines, the butterfly cinquain consists of nine lines–an American cinquain plus a reverse cinquain, minus one of the two-syllable lines.  The line pattern for the butterfly cinquain forms an image of a butterfly on the printed page and is crafted as follows:

Line 1.  Two syllables

Line 2.  Four syllables

Line 3.  Six syllables

Line 4.  Eight syllables

Line 5.  Two syllables

Line 6.  Eight syllables

Line 7.  Six syllables

Line 8.  Four syllables

Line 9.  Two syllables

I could not resist writing the butterfly cinquain which I set into flight below.  I saved the following butterfly cinquain for posting this week because the anniversary of my Aunt Zita’s birth will be Friday, May 20.  My dear aunt who amazingly ran an Italian restaurant was born 114 years ago; and in loving memory of her, I dedicate the following butterfly cinquain.

Delicious Italian Menu in Butterfly Cinquain

Butterfly Cinquain by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

My aunt’s

Fine restaurant

Served vermicelli, veal

Crusty Italian garlic bread,


Spumoni was the house dessert

Chianti and more wines

Toasted my aunt’s


* * *

Toasting all of my longtime and new readers of WORDWALK!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

May 18, 2022, Wednesday


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  1. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice, Such a special tribute to our beloved Aunt Zita for her birthday on May 20! She would be very proud of the poem you composed about her restaurant, and she should be! Cheers to you and your kindred spirit! Love, Mary

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Susan McKendry permalink

    Even though I don’t write poetry, I did enjoy reading this post and once again you made me hungry before 7 a.m.

    • Good morning, Sue–Thanks for reading this post and commenting! The
      butterfly cinquain makes me hungry also for some good Italian food. 
      Sometimes when Willow and I are on a walk, I will catch a particular
      aroma of a tomato sauce which takes me very pleasantly right back to
      thoughts of my aunt’s restaurant.

      Looking forward to seeing you soon–Alice and Willow

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