“Etymology of the Word ‘Parable'” [contest-winning cinquain poem]

I’m thrilled to share that my poem, “Etymology of the Word ‘Parable,'” has won the 2022 “WWPH Writes the Holidays” contest, sponsored by the Washington Writers’ Publishing House.


Brandel France de Bravo judged the contest, and has these kind words to say about the poem:

With its skillful assonance and half-rhymes, this poem is like a hard nut of wisdom that asks to be pried open. In keeping with its title, it gestures towards several root meanings of “parable,” including comparison and the curve of an object falling to earth.

“Etymology of the Word ‘Parable'” is an American cinquain, which is a five-lined stanza form (hence the name! 🙂 with a simple syllabic structure: the first line and fifth line of each stanza are two syllables, the second line is four syllables, the third line is six syllables, and the fourth line is eight syllables. Inspired by haiku and tanka, Adelaide Crapsey invented the cinquain form in the early twentieth century as a way to express restrained vernacular language. I appreciate the tension not only of the odd number of lines versus the even-numbered syllables, but also the tension of a pretty straightforward poetic form, versus the profound (and sometimes confounding!) topic of parables.

I also love how the cinquain form expands and contracts not only the poem, but also my breath.

What about you? What comes to mind when you think of “parables?”

Photo credit: hedera.baltica on VisualHunt.com

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