Staff Blogger: Ellen Venema, Rhein Center Assistant Coordinator

There’s truly an art to selecting and arranging words. The rhythm, alliteration and imagery of our choices may provide another level of interest and meaning. We can create moods, set scenes and build characters with paper and pen (or computer and fingers…) and a little careful thought.

One of the more vivid ways of creating art with words is through poetry.

April is designated National Poetry Month. As we move towards warmer and more pleasant weather, spend some time outside, and let your thoughts drift. Send them down through your arm to a waiting pencil, and wax poetic on what you see, hear and feel.

Poetry, in general, requires no specific rules. It may rhyme; it may not. It may count syllables; it may not. It may be rhythmic; it may not.

Through the centuries, people have written and studied many defined types of poetry, but there are endless possibilities yet to be created.

Described and demonstrated below are a few of the shorter established styles, with a little Lakeside flair. May they inspire you.

Acrostic: The first letters of each line create a word vertically. Rhyming is not necessary. You can make this more challenging, by spelling out your vertical word with the last letters of each line instead.

Lakeside’s Facebook page featured this acrostic poem by young Lakesider, Claire Mohler.

L ove and laughter

A uditorium performances every night

K ite flying on windy days

E xploring the town

S unsets and sunrises

I ce cream everday

D ockside swimming

E njoying time with my family

Didactic Cinquain: A daunting name for one simple version of a five-line poem without rhyme.

1-word noun title
2 descriptive words
3 words describing an action
4 words describing a feeling
1-word synonym for title


Timeless, welcoming

Gathers family together

Uplifting community of spirit


Diamante: Similar concept to the cinquain, but in the shape of a diamond and moving between two different subjects.

1 noun
2 adjectives for line 1
3 –ing words to describe line 1
4 nouns, 2 associated with line 1, 2 associated with line 7
3 –ing words to describe line 7
2 adjectives for line 7
1 noun


morning, warm

chewing, sticking, satisfying

box, napkin, cone, dish

refreshing, melting, licking

cold, evening


Haiku – Three-line poem reflecting on nature and emotion.

5 syllables
7 syllables
5 syllables

Rocky shoreline breeze

Flowers dance in carefree waves

A beautiful mile 

Limerick – Five-line poem with patterns of rhyming and stressed and unstressed syllables.

U S U U S U U S   (a)
U S U U S U U S   (a)
U S U U S   (b)
U S U U S   (b)
U S U U S U U S  (a)

While painting a rock at age eight

I sat next to somebody great.

Became my best friend.

Now summers we spend

Together in Lakeside. Can’t wait!

Kyrielle – Four-lined stanzas, ending in a refrain line. Each line has eight syllables, and rhymes in couplets following this pattern:


New congregations ev’ry week

A harmony of faith do seek.

Loving God, in Hoover abide.

Bring us together at Lakeside.


Our visitors both young and old

May study subjects yet untold.

Speakers who our thirsty minds guide

Bring us together at Lakeside.


Here artists play on stage, in Rhein.

Try something new, find it divine!

Music, arts, and crafts here supplied

Bring us together at Lakeside.


When family and friends compete

And play and laugh, results are sweet.

Shuffleboard, lake, tennis, and slide

Bring us together at Lakeside.

Take some time this spring to think about your Lakeside experience: what you’ve loved in the past, what you’re looking forward to this year.

Give a few of these poem variations a try with your family and friends, and share your favorites with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

This blog was originally posted in 2016.