The Old Gods, #Garland Cinquain

This week for the poetry challenge, I want to share a garland cinquain. This poem is created with a 2/4/6/8/2 syllable count for each of the five stanzas. The last stanza is where it gets interesting. You take line one from the first stanza, line two from the second stanza, etc. until you’ve created the last refrain.

I especially like this form because it combines the brevity of syllabic poetry into a longer verse poem that tells a story.

(The cover image credits are: Roger Kidd,

Image Credit: Dustin Hemingway, My Michigan son from another mother

The Old Gods

old Gods
guard the river
where fast water runs deep
a far northern estuary

weathered heartwood
reveals the mystery
of the dryad’s saddle parasite

weakens the host
maple, elm, box elder
united wood nymph sentinels

the core
connection to the tree
If one falls, they die together

air, earth, water
powers drawn from the trees
ambrosia from the other world

old gods
weathered heartwood
maple, elm, box elder,
if one falls, they die together

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Years ago when we lived in Great Falls, Montana, Dustin lived next door to us where he served in the Air Force. Now retired and married to the love of his life, Molly, the two returned home to their beloved state of Michigan. Our friendship has endured for many years and we talk often. When Dustin sent me this photo from a spot near his home, I knew I had to write about the dryad’s saddle. These fungi are edible, believe it or not! Click the link to find out more.

Give back to the mother goddess… plant a dryad tree!

62 thoughts on “The Old Gods, #Garland Cinquain

  1. You have taught me something new Colleen.. I didn’t know this fungi was edible.. You have to certainly know your fungi… My Dad and I would often go mushrooming… And he taught me a lot about what mushrooms to pick and avoid.. I would never have touched Tree fungi.. 🙂 lol..

    Loved the image… and wonderful your friendship has long lasted Colleen…. Your poem I loved.. The myecelium that connects ALL trees is fascinating… when you learn how that web beneath the earth communicates..

    Sending Love my friend… ❤ Enjoy your Friday and weekend to come.. ❤ ❤ ❤


      1. You know how when you buy something made of wood… How you cannot resist to touch it, stroke it and feel its energy… Wood Energy I feel lasts and imprints into the objects… Trees as you know are my favourite Elders of Time… 🙂 You may like when you have more time to read a story I wrote some years ago that went with a painting I did… I revealed parts of the painting in the different parts… The first part is here..


    1. Thanks, Vashti. Those carved heads are so cool. No one knows how they got there. The original owner said we bought the land on the river, the heads were already in place. I feel like there’s a story there for sure. ❤


  2. You had a great inspiration to write this poem, Colleen. It was good of your friend sent you the photo. It looks very interesting to find the tree and other things in addition to the fungi in the photo. ❤


    1. Thanks, Merril. This took me awhile to get all the stanzas to work together. The Dryad’s Saddle mushroom–how cool is that thing? The stormy sky in the photo background begged me to talk about the old gods. The carvings are spectacular.


      1. The original owner of the land that Dustin bought this house from said the carvings were there when he first bought. They look old and carved out of the decaying stump. There’s such a synergy in the photo. This was one of my favorite pieces to write. ❤️


    1. This is one of my favorite Cinquain versions. It’s a real challenge to get the sixth stanza to make sense. I have to write it all at the same time. If you write it, I’ll add it to the poetry book of examples which I’ll be asking for soon. Same offer as before, you hold all rights to your poetry. I cite you as the author. ❤


  3. Wonderful poem, Colleen and thank you for the tutorial too. I was apprehensive to try out Garland Cinquain, thanks to you, I might give it a try in near future. It’s amazing that the last stanza makes perfect sense. 🙂


  4. I didn’t know they came in so many stanzas. Looks challenging. I like how yours turned out. That first photo looks like a snake, looks like a mushroom, looks like a snake, lol. I had to go find my glasses, lol!!



  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Challenge – #SynonymsOnly -#GarlandCinquain – Garden Birds – Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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