A Mother's Abecedarian Poem

ABC trim A
By Louis-Gustave-Fortuné Ratisbonne (1827-1900) (Scanned from book A. B. C. Trim, alphabet enchanté) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons*

Fellow po-blogger Drew recently invited her readers to try an ABC poem, also known as an abecedarian poem. An abecedarian poem is a type of acrostic poem structured around the use of successive letters of the alphabet. The most recent ABC poem I've read is "On Earth" by Carolyn Forche from her collection Blue Hour. She takes this form to its limits, often allowing one letter to generate the beginning of lines across multiple pages before going on to the next letter. She seems to use this form as equal parts structure and randomness, to very good effect. In her book, she notes that ABC poem were used in some early spiritual writings. I'm pretty sure a few of the Psalms were written as ABC poems in Hebrew, for example, but I'm too comfy right now to get up and check, and google is not really helping me out with this one. At any rate, I thought it might be fun to try an ABC poem with a motherhood twist, and here's my effort:

A Mother's Abecedarian (Not-Really-a-)Poem

Ask politely Brush your teeth and wash your face Clear your dishes Don't talk with your mouth full Even mothers make mistakes Flush and wash! Go to sleep Have a good day I love you Just a minute Keep your chair legs down on the floor Lower your voice for heaven's sake! Make do with what you have NOpen this door right now, young man! Patience, grasshopper Quiet down for heaven's sake! Rack 'em and stack 'em! Stand up straight Tuck in your shirt Umbrellas are not for dueling well dear, Vaccines are a public health issue Wash your hands with soap Xylophones must be played behind closed doors Yes Zip your lip

(that last one is one of my favorites -- just the sound of it and the crispness of 'zip' are extremely satifying)

Clearly, I am not in the Carolyn Forche league, but sometimes it's fun to think about all the things that come out of one's mouth as a mother -- the regulars (if I had a dollar for every time I've said 'flush and wash!' ....), and the things you never could have imagined saying to your child ("well dear, vaccines are a public health issue" -- as if this would convince a 4yo to go peaceful into that good exam room!? Yes, I really said it.). So, thanks to Drew for a bit of fun. 

Now, Reader, try one of your own. Because I'm sure you have nothing else to do this week, right? Ah yes, I can see it now, a holiday ABC poem....

*Translation for text on image is roughly: Look! when the mouth opens to say Ah, the mouth makes an 'A.' And small ducklings quacking: Quack! Quack! look like lowercase a's (thank you, Google Translate).


drew said...

Your poem is great fun! (and yes, that exclamation is intentional, and deserved.)

I had no idea that Carolyn Forche was doing these type of poems. Thanks for the background.

P.S. I, too, love 'zip your lip," as well as "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit." :)

Molly said...

Oh, Drew, I should've used that for Y! I say "you get what you get and you don't have a fit" several times each day :). Carolyn Forche really makes a new art form out of the abc poems if you ask me. Hers took me weeks to read (I had to go slow) - but, wow.

Ms. WK said...

I am laughing so hard right now because I thought Drew was a boy this whole time!!! :-)

drew said...

Ms. WK -
Mistaken gender, story of my life. :)

Molly said...

Ms WK, I am laughing now, too. And just for clarification, the "Gerry" who comments here from time to time is also not a boy :).