Tongues & Grooves Portsmouth #WritingChallenge2

Maggie Sawkins, who leads local poetry and creative group Tongues & Grooves has unleashed a local #writingchallenge and they kindly let us publish the responses. This week’s challenge is to write a Cinquain, a syllabic form invented by American poet, Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914). 

The Form:

  • Five lines
  • It does not rhyme but is based on a set of syllables per line, as follows:
  • two in the first line; four in the second; six in the third; eight in the fourth, and two in the fifth
  • (2, 4, 6, 8, 2)
  • The poem builds as each line becomes longer until the last line which, being suddenly short, allows particular emphasis to fall on the words and meaning of the ending.



During lockdown

The moon shines on the fox

As it wanders the empty streets

In peace

Maggie Sawkins



Beckoning me

Out of the muted dawn

Into the field of wet grasses


Norma Ayers


Birch tree

Which slowly comes

Into view, sees us two

I know so much but cannot tell

Please stop

Janet Ayers


Such days

we’re living through.

Routine is made anew.

Himself indoors chafing, missing


Sue Spiers



Loo roll for sale!

Forty-five pence a sheet.

Do not let yourself get caught short —

Stock pile!

Marie Monro



Muscari crowds

The grassy path winds through

The long grown dewy lawn, it’s dawn

White blooms

Suzanne Attridge


Ticks sigh

In the white noise

Under the floorboards still

Forty years of expectation


Bernard MacDonagh



The window wide

The deadly virus floats

Inside. Slowly she takes a breath

And dies

Eileen Phyall


I am

Not the one who

Stained the grass green, or who

Pricked the slate black sky nightly so

Stars shone

Margaret Jennings


The spuds

Are quarantined

Another day at least

No pasta. Rice for dinner then


Anne Paton



68 What do

We appreciate today?

The crowd that once bustled about

Now gone

Christo Morley



Fowley Island

Egrets seeking molluscs

On glistening mudflats’ shining


Simon Cattermole



newly arrived

on the grey-lichened back

of a forgotten chair, trills its


Amanda Garrie


You can take part in the regular Tongues & Grooves #WritingChallenge over on their Facebook page and check out their website and Twitter, too.

Image by ThoughtCatalog from Pixabay.


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