Shackled, or: Flowing

Cold Restraining
Chilling Locking Binding
Inescapably bound in place
Round Connected
Coiling Twisting Looping
Securely wrapping all around
Pretty Shiny
Sparkling Glinting Twinkling
An attractive wrist ornament
Tiny Worthless
Hanging Dangling Swinging
Only for sentimental folks
Paltry Little
Piddling Trifling Niggling
Utterly worthless minor thing
Shattered Pointed
Piercing Cutting Stinging
Greater picture remains hidden
Lot Separate
Parting Taking Giving
Different for every person
Wealthy Elite
Boasting Owning Spending
Far beyond mere security
Nice Comforting
Soothing Saving Freeing
Enough for all emergencies
Wet Powerful
Gushing Bursting Flooding
Tremendous deluge overcomes all
Swift Measured
Streaming Rolling Pounding
Water and language similar

I’ve been experimenting with various forms of poetry of late, and I came upon the ‘cinquain’. At its core, the ‘cinquain’ is a five line poem. There are, of course, variations; and I settled upon the following rules, as a challenge to myself:

  • Line 1: One word, two syllables (a noun, the subject of the poem)
  • Line 2: Two words, four syllables (adjectives that describe the subject in line 1)
  • Line 3: Three words, six syllables (-ing action verbs–participles–that relate to the subject in line 1)
  • Line 4: Four words, eight syllables (a phrase or sentence that relates feelings about the subject in line 1)
  • Line 5: One word, two syllables (a synonym for the subject in line 1 or a word that sums it up)

I was immediately struck by the fact that the 5th line of a cinquain (according to the above rules) takes the very same form as the 1st line (i.e. one word, two syllables), which led me to wonder… how many cinquains could I reasonably manage to string together?

My goal, I decided, would be to start with the word ‘shackles’ and somehow get myself to the word ‘poem’.

58 thoughts on “Shackled, or: Flowing”

  1. Yes, I like it very much, the philosophical is there. Most notably in the comparisons (implied or expressed) between water and poetry. Nicely penned. How your images progressed from “shackles” to “poem”…amazing 🙏😊👍

    1. Thanks, Suzette 🙂

      You know, that was actually (to be even more specific) my goal – I figured if I could somehow get from ‘shackles’ to some word related to ‘flowing’ — then I could end it with ‘poem’… and it seems you saw that right away 🙂


  2. Wow, this sounds like a challenge, but I love what you’ve done with it! Perhaps I’ll set it as an EIF poetry challenge if I can get the hang of it myself first 😅

      1. Aww that’s so sweet of you to say. I’m enjoying your exploration of poetry forms. I’m inspired ( and tempted:) to try

    1. you know, FF, I actually think this is a legitimate philosophical question – for me, the poem was actually both of these things at once!

      thank you so much for your support, kind Sir!


      1. I find that it was intentionally bound and uncontrollably fluid. I think you have managed to capture these words- then set them free.
        You are welcome to all my support! Thank you in turn, for yours as well!


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