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Alphabet Poem

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Explore the Craft of Writing
Light Verse

Alphabet Poem is a poetic technique that incorporates letters of the alphabet as part of the structure of the poem. The Alphabestiary, the Abecedarius and the Iroha Mokigusari fall under this category or genre and there are at least 5 different variations on this page, each taking its own path.

  • ABC poem, a subgenre of the Alphabet Poem is sometimes used as a word game for children in which the child is asked to think up words in alphabetical order and write a poem using those words as the first word of each line. It is an Abecedarius without the history or the spiritual character. Each line of the poem begins with a sequential letter of the alphabet.

    Balancing Act by Judi Van Gorder

    An acrobatic
    bird with a blue
    crown crossed over and
    down the daunting
    gripping the grate with

  • Twenty six letters, twenty six words, a-z or z-a, is a variation of the Alphabet poem using one word for every letter in the alphabet not necessarily beginning a different line for each word.

    A Brief Cast by Judi Van Gorder

    A blue crane
    danced energetically
    for glory, holding imaginary
    jewels, keeping lithe movements
    noticeably osculating,
    posturing quickly round
    submerged tule
    until vultures wallop
    xiphoid yams.

  • Single letter selection is a variation which is focused on only one letter of the alphabet. The appearance and shape of the letter selected inspires images that the poet explores.

    who are you, little i by e.e. cummings (1894-1962) the letter i reminds cummings of a child's head

    (five or six years old)
    peering from so high

    window at the gold
    of november sunset

    and feeling: that if day
    has to become night

    this is a beautiful way

  • Alliterated alphabet poem, this variation is written with almost every word within the line beginning with the same letter of the alphabet.

    Tail Wagging by Judi Van Gorder

    Telling two trollops to take time to testify.
    Unrelenting umpires usually understand
    Vesting vapid vulgarities
    Without woefully worrying wanton women                                     .
















    Monster by Judi Van Gorder 3/7/04

    Abused, abased, abandoned,
    betrayed, bested, bludgeoned,
    challenged child carelessly careens
    down destructive, declivitous direction.
    Endurance elicits escape,
    frantic for friends, fun, freedom,
    grants gawking gazes, gratuitous groping.
    Hopeless hate heralds
    inappropriate icons.
    Jockeying Johns
    kindles killings.
    Longing lands lesbian lover.
    Murderous muggings multiply,
    needs negotiated naughtily,
    object of obscene obscurity.
    Partner’s panic propagates
    questionable quest.
    Rage ratifies random rampage,
    suicidal survival scourges!
    Tempest tethered, tried,
    used, unfit, unremorseful;
    vacuous validity voids villain.
    Wasted woman
    zero. . . . .


  • Alphabet Characters, another variation in which each letter of the alphabet becomes a character and the line representing the character uses a word beginning with the letter as the subject. Similar to the Alphabestiary in which each letter of the alphabet is described as an animal.

    Alphabet by Edward Lear(1812-1888)

    A tumbled down, and hurt his Arm, against a bit of wood.
    B said, "My Boy, O! do not cry' it cannot do you good!"
    C said, "A Cup of Coffee hot can't do you any harm."
    D said, "A Doctor should be fetched, and he would cure the arm."
    E said, "An Egg beat up in milk would quickly make him well."
    F said, "A Fish, if broiled, might cure, if only by the smell."
    G said, "Green Gooseberry fool, the best of cures I hold."
    H said, "His Hat should be kept on, keep him from the cold."
    I said, "Some Ice upon his head will make him better soon."
    J said, "Some Jam, if spread on bread, or given in a spoon."
    K said, "A Kangaroo is here,---this picture let him see."
    L said, "A Lamp pray keep alight, to make some barley tea."
    M said, "A Mulberry or two might give him satisfaction."
    N said, "Some Nuts, if rolled about, might be a slight attraction."
    O said, "An Owl might make him laugh, if only it would wink."
    P said, "Some Poetry might be read aloud, to make him think."
    Q said, "A Quince I recommend,---A Quince, or else a Quail."
    R said, "Some Rats might make him move, if fastened by their tail."
    S said, "A Song should now be sung, in hopes to make him laugh!"
    T said, "A Turnip might avail, if sliced or cut in half."
    U said, "An Urn, with water hot, place underneath his chin!"
    V said, "I'll stand upon a chair, and play a Violin!"
    W said, "Some Whiskey-Whizzgigs fetch, some marbles and a ball !"
    X said, "Some double XX ale would be the best of all!"
    Y said, "Some Yeast mised up with salt would make a perfect plaster!"
    Z said, "Here is a box of Zinc! Get in my little master!

    ----- We'll shut you up! We'll nail you down!
    ----- We will, my little master!
    ----- We think we've all heard quite enough of this sad disaster!"

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