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A Writer's Handbook

 


Lanterne: Illuminating The Way

John Daleiden

Lanterne is a five line quintain verse shaped like a Japanese lantern with a syllabic pattern of one, two, three, four, one. Each line usually is able to stand on its own as a phrase, and the poem may or may not have a title which sometimes forms an integral part as a 'sixth line'.

Lanterne verses contain 11 syllables arranged in five lines: 1,2,3,4,1 = 11

Some poets consider the lanterne to be half of a cinquain. Adeleide Crapsey invented the cinquain in 1918. The cinquain is a five line verse with the syllabic pattern 2, 4, 6, 8, 2.  Both forms use images to convey their ideas.

The lines of the lanterne are often printed so they are centered on the page, thus, giving the approximate shape of a Japanese lantern. Some contemporary writers who use this form prefer to print the poem so the lines are flush with the left margin. Variations on the form include the mirror, the sequence, the crown, and the garland.  Since the form is flexible other variations could be designed.

The lanterne and the cinquain have been used by elementary school teachers as a didatic form employed to introduce young children to poetry.

Brian Strand, an English poet, has combined the lanterne form with Ekphrasis in a series of poems focusing on famous artists and their paintings.
 

 

 Lanterne Examples


The Leonids in November

bursts
of light
streak the sky
with meteor
dreams

Deborah P Kolodji, US

 


In The Night


light

spills out

from this verse—

a bright central

glow

John Daleiden, US
 

 


Lanterne Sequence

Swansong

A
final
hurrah in
our rosebed as
the
last
Autumn
colours are
lost in winter
snow.

Brian Strand, UK
 

 


Mirror Lanterne

A Sorceress

Bright
beacons
in dark skies—
your innocent
eyes
see
through deception,
piercing heart's
soulful
lies.

John Daleiden, US

 


Ekphrastic Lanterne

Flaming June
(Frederick Leighton 1830-96)

A
flimsy
negligee
betrays her round
shape—
an
honest
innocence
in becalmed deep
sleep.

Brian Strand, UK

 


Ekphrastic Lanterne

Canna In Red*

Mime
the thought
that's keeping
this heart alive
love
bring
with you
a Canna—
flames gold and red
Sun
light
in me
forever
so I know not
night

Karina Klesko, US

*Georgia O' Keefe
(1887 —1986), Artist
 

 

Isle of the Dead

Saints
nor ranks
of angels
hover above
sheol
strange
stone forms
near the shore—
pyres bleed the sky
gray

Karina Klesko, US

*Arnold Bocklin's (1827-1901)
  Isle of Death series
 

 


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