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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 305-306

Syllabic medicine (Cinquain)

Former Director-Professor of Ophthalmology, University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication14-Nov-2018

Correspondence Address:
Upreet Dhaliwal
A-61, Govindpuram, Ghaziabad - 201 002, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cjhr.cjhr_77_18

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How to cite this article:
Dhaliwal U. Syllabic medicine (Cinquain). CHRISMED J Health Res 2018;5:305-6

How to cite this URL:
Dhaliwal U. Syllabic medicine (Cinquain). CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Nov 28];5:305-6. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2018/5/4/305/245454


Sickly, Dying, Hurting

Helplessly Accepting

Ignorant, Entitled, Hopeful



Good/Bad, Bitter/Sweet

Curing, Fixing, Breaking

Small pill with big promises



Sharp, Brisk, Deadly

Uprooting, Effacing

Only as good as the Surgeon



Untrained Cheater

Shamming – Fooling the sick

Immune, Blatant, Harmful, Godman



Selfish, Greedy

Preserving Status Quo

Healthcare is last priority




Slogging, Sacrificing

Altruistic, ignores selfcare

Burned out…


Able, Human

Preventing, Curing, Caring

Tireless against systemic odds


Poetry is a form of literature where feelings and emotions are given primacy – the reader is transported, through the inventive use of style and rhythm, into another world. Medical students are reported to gain important perspectives when exposed to such an expressive way of communication- “When my emotions get engaged, I feel connected”; “It is a different way of looking at things; a different perspective”; “Poetry takes me to places I never knew existed”; “It compels me to examine my feelings”.[1]

Although many variants are described, the typical Cinquain (cinq [French] = five) is a five-line stanza that does not have to rhyme and relies on syllables in a specific order: two, four, six, eight and two.[2] A subject is introduced in the first line; the subsequent lines describe the subject using adjectives, action words, and the feelings that the subject evokes. The stanza ends with a reference to the subject again, perhaps with a telling synonym/description as in the case of this poem (Patient… Wretched; Tablet… Pricey; Scalpel… Aloof; Quack… Phony; Systems… Sickening; Learner… Burned out; Healer… Unsung).

These basic rules make it possible for poets to use only a few simple words to express feelings and emotions, and they are the very reason I chose the Cinquain as a poetic way to direct attention toward the issues that plague healthcare in our country today.

There is increasing evidence from around us that the healthcare system is being stretched beyond its capacity and that it is collapsing even as we watch.[3] Patient expectations are changing faster than the system can expand to meet demand and provide satisfaction. In the face of continuing illiteracy and superstition, quacks find ample opportunity to exploit and misguide.[4]

Each stanza (and, thus, each Cinquain) refers to an important stakeholder in the health-care scenario – the patient, pharmaceuticals, physicians and surgeons, health professions' learners, administrators, regulators and governments, and (unfortunately) also quacks. All of us have a vested interest in health care, and only when we work for the same ultimate outcome - health for all - in a selfless and concerted manner, incorruptibly, will we notice change.[5]

  References Top

Supraja C. Seeking solace in poetry. RHiME 2017;4:62-3. Available from: https://www.rhime.in/ojs/index.php/rhime/article/view/139. [Last accessed on 2018 Jul 12].  Back to cited text no. 1
Cinquain; 07 July, 2018. Available from: https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinquain. [Last accessed on 2018 Jul 12].  Back to cited text no. 2
Nagpal N. Incidents of violence against doctors in India: Can these be prevented? Natl Med J India 2017;30:97-100.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Arora N, Juneja R, Meher R. Complication of an odontogenic infection to an orbital abscess: The role of a medical fraudster (“Quack”). Iran J Otorhinolaryngol 2018;30:181-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Patel V, Parikh R, Nandraj S, Balasubramaniam P, Narayan K, Paul VK, et al. Assuring health coverage for all in India. Lancet 2015;386:2422-35.  Back to cited text no. 5


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