Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - English Quintet

The English Quintet is composed of any number of 5-line stanzas with the rhyme scheme ababb cdcdd, etc. The number of syllables may vary and there is no requirement for meter, though they are often written in iambic pentameter.

Here's an example.

Go, lovely Rose
by Edmund Waller

Go, lovely Rose—
      Tell her that wastes her time and me,
      That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Read the poem in its entirety.

In this example, the syllable count is 4/8/4/8/8.

So, there's your challenge for the week. I hope you'll join me in writing an English quintet. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Hmmmm--nothing I could do to make it less sing-songy. Reads like a bad condolence card.

    If ever I forget

    If ever I forget you,
    It means that I have died.
    But now mourning’s tide is through,
    I’ve opened my arms wide,
    Crossing to life’s side.

    Death may be permanent
    Living just a dot,
    Bird wing across the firmament,
    On the page a blot.
    But I’ll give my life a shot.

    As long as life is given me,
    As long as I’m not dead,
    As long as no priest’s shriven me,
    I’ll take the road ahead
    Going where you've lead.

    ©2016 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Yikes! I didn't mean "poem"; I meant poetry form! (Sorry, Jane.)

  3. No, not my favorite poetry form. "Bad condolence card"—ha. Nice rhyme with "shriven" and "given"!

    The Girl

    The girl who sits in the third row
    of history and thinks that he
    might notice her, ask her to go
    to see a movie, isn’t me.
    Not yet, although she’s going to be.

    He’s going to ask another girl,
    a cheerleader, a blonde cliché.
    The one who stands atop the world—
    a pyramid she builds each day,
    a cheering, shining girl array.

    Ann doesn’t know that nothing turns
    out how you want it to.
    Ten years will pass before she learns
    that life’s assurances aren’t true.
    But that will be when she meets you.

    —Kate Coombs, 2016
    all rights reserved

  4. Fun take on th English Quintet.

  5. I have a funeral lunch today, and this poem found solace in your English Quintet form. I see that Jane has written of grief, too. Maybe these formal styles lend to that these days.

    We remember the passed
    at a quiet lunch
    share memories amassed
    as we nibble and munch,
    trying not to sadly hunch.