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An Abecedarian (or Abecedarius) poem is a type of alphabet acrostic poem where each line or verse begins with a successive letter of the alphabet (a, b, c, d...and so forth) until the end of the alphabet is reached. It is arranged by alphabetical order with the initial line beginning with the first letter of the alphabet. Each line, stanza, or verse begins with a successive letter of the alphabet and ending with the final letter. This form is sometimes known as an alphabet poem.

The medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the father of English literature, translated a French prayer using the abecedarian method to create "An ABC (The Prayer of our Lady)".

Contemporary examples include mnemonic devices, written for children and often using musical arrangements or songs, by authors including Dr. Seuss, Gertrude Stein, and Edward Gorey. 



A pple pies, that's what I want to bite.
B egging my mom: "Mommy please, please..", as I
C ome closer to her..
D ancing a little to the left and right;
E very move a way to tempt my mom
F or that sweet delicious pie..
G iving her a kiss to her lips. And
H ugs so tight.. Finally,
I ris, my mom, said yes, yes we go and buy
J umping thrice for I am happy and thrilled, I
K not my arm to my mom's.
L ovingly, not wanting any other mom.
M oving fast as we could to buy not one or two but a plentitude of pies.
N oting, how generous is my mom for I was just asking for one.
O ven-fresh, my mouth waters as I smell the apple pies.
P icking one piece,
Q uickly, I took a luscious large bite.
R ich rumble rush of savory pie
S ated my appetite.
T aunting me to take more! more!
U nder my mom's gaze, Again I eat and eat.
V ery delicious, I said to my mom
W idening my grin and giving thumbs up.
X eric is my throat, I drink and drink.
Y ummy! So yummy, that I eat four pies in a row.
Z ipper of my pants, my oh my, I hardly can close!


See also: AN Geoffrey Chaucer

Origin and History

The earliest examples of Abecedarian poems are Semitic. This ancient form of poetry was often used for sacred compositions including hymns, prayers and psalms, the earliest examples being found in Hebrew texts that are now part of the Bible. One of the most renowned pieces is Psalm 118 in the Hebrew Bible, consisting of 22 stanzas, each one comprised of eight lines, therefore using all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in turn. 

Related Information

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