< Reviewing Your Poetry
By Faith Pirlo
16 March 2023

In the past few weeks, we asked readers and listeners to write structured poems using either parts of speech or syllables. Many of you wrote in with cinquains, haiku, and diamond poems.

In this week's Everyday Grammar, we will read some of your poems.

Everyday Grammar: Reviewing Your Poetry
Everyday Grammar: Reviewing Your Poetry

Your poems

Thao wrote a cinquain poem with parts of speech. Let's take a look:


Warmer, dry, bright

Lighting, heating, cuddling

Waiting for the raindrops


Thao's subject is "summer," which is his one-word noun. The second line has three adjectives that describe the season. This line should only have two adjectives, but it is okay. The poem is still a cinquain with five lines. Next, Thao moves onto the third line with three -ing verbs.

The fourth line uses the phrase, "Waiting for the rain drops." This line describes Thao's feelings about summer and the longing for relief from the warm weather. And in the last line, Thao uses the word "passion" which is a strong emotion of love and considers his thoughts about summer. Wonderful job, Thao!

Our next two poems come from Francis and Muhammad. They both wrote diamond poems. Let's start with Francis' poem:


Gentle, kind

Caring, loving, understanding

Sister, daughter, aunty, wife

Worrying, crying, protecting

Sweet, beautiful


Francis wrote about a "mother." He used four adjectives, two in the second line and two in the sixth line, "gentle," "kind," "sweet," and "beautiful." In the third and fifth lines he used six -ing verbs. While the two lines describe the subject, "mother," there is a change in the 5th line to more powerful images of "crying," "worrying," and "protecting."

The fourth line includes other nouns and parts the subject might play. Lastly, Francis ends his lovely cinquain with "woman." Francis created his cinquain with synonyms, words with similar meanings. Now let's read one with antonyms, words with opposing meanings, that Muhammad sent in.


Kind, caring

Teaching, perspiring, inspiring

Notebooks, books, chalk, duster

Advising, leading, bearing

Disrespectful, unruly


In his diamond poem, Muhammad starts with "teacher" as his subject and ends with "student." He describes a "teacher" as "kind" and "caring." Then he compares a teacher to a student using adjectives in the seventh line like "disrespectful" and "unruly." Those negative adjectives are a smart choice for the antonym poem.

There is one word we would like to give feedback on, "perspiring." It means to sweat when our bodies work hard. I will admit teaching is a physical activity, and we do sweat as teachers. Another word we could use is "enduring," which means working hard over a long period of time. Such a fun poem, Muhammad!

Lastly, we have two poems using syllables from Jack. One is a haiku with 17 syllables, and another is a cinquain with 22 syllables. Let's start with Jack's haiku:

We were always doomed,

I will never understand,


Jack uses powerful words like "doomed" and "inevitable." All the words fit the syllable structure of the haiku with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line, and five again in the last line.

Here is Jack's cinquain:

Grey sky,

Shepherds delight,

The blue sky is tranquil,

A natural phenomenon,

Look up.

All of Jack's words fit the structure of a cinquain with syllables.

Grey sky, (2 syllables)

Shepherds delight, (4 syllables)

The blue sky is tranquil, (6 syllables)

A natural phenomenon, (8 syllables)

Look up (2 syllables)

There is a connection to the common saying, "red sky at night, shepherd's delight." It means that if there is a bright red sky in the evening, the following day will bring good weather. Instead of red, Jack chose "grey," followed by "blue sky." We know that once grey skies clear, blue skies and sunny days will follow.

Jack ends with a request, "look up." The mood of this poem is very peaceful, and your word choices fit the syllables! Thank you, Jack!

Closing thoughts

In today's report, we read structured poems from our listeners. You chose subjects like "summer," "sky," mother" and "teacher." You chose words that fit poem structures, parts of speech and syllables. Your poems were filled with emotion and descriptive images.

We hope that you have enjoyed learning about ways to create poetry in English. And we thank all of you who sent us your good work.

I'm Faith Pirlo. And I'm Jill Robbins.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

syllablen. any one of the parts into which a word is naturally divided when it is pronounced

cuddle – v. to hold (someone or something) in your arms in order to show affection

passionn. a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

relief n. a pleasant and relaxed feeling that someone has when something unpleasant stops or does not happen

aunty n. diminutive your mother or father's sister

role – n. the function, job, or position of a person, organization, or thing

perspire v. to sweat through the skin

inspiring adj. causing people to want or create something or to lead their lives in a different way

chalkn. a soft, light-colored rock used for writing

sweat – v. to give off salty moisture through the pores of the skin

duster n. a cloth that is used to remove dust from objects

bearv. to carry the weight of

unrulyadj. to be disruptive

sweat – v. to give off salty moisture through the pores of the skin

doom v. to make certain the failure or destruction of

inevitable – adj. sure to happen

shepherd – n. a person whose job is to take care of sheep — sometimes used figuratively

delight – n. a strong feeling of happiness

tranquil – adj. quiet and peaceful

phenomenon – n. an event or interesting happening that can be observed and studied and that is not easy to explain or understand

mood –n. the way a person feels

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