Nature Poems and Facts Based on Abecedarian Techniques

Updated on April 21, 2020
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a teacher who enjoys reading and creative writing. Her favourite genres are classic literature, fantasy, myth, and poetry.

Wild and cultivated flowers can inspire poetry.
Wild and cultivated flowers can inspire poetry. | Source

The Nature of Abecedarian Poetry

Nature is important in my life. It’s always fascinating and often beautiful. It can be very inspirational for writers, photographers, artists, and people who enjoy exploring the living world. In this article, I include five of my poems about nature that use an abecedarian technique.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word abecedarian means “of or relating to the alphabet” or “alphabetically arranged”. Some writers using an abecedarian technique create poems in which the first letter of each word or of each line follows the alphabet sequentially. Others use the alphabet in a different way as they create poetry. Although it might sound like the requirement to reflect the alphabet would constrain a writer, I've found that it actually creates an enjoyable challenge.

Ann Carr, another writer on this site, introduced me to abecedarian poetry. Ann issued a challenge to her readers. She asked us to create a poem in which each word began with the same letter and showed us a lovely example that she created.

The five poems below are my answer to Ann’s challenge. They each depict a scene from nature but may contain an additional meaning. As both a naturalist and a writer, I couldn’t resist including a few facts about the real-life organisms featured in the poems.

A gray whale spyhopping
A gray whale spyhopping | Source

Mysterious Death of Gray Whales

The inspiration for my first poem came from the mysterious and tragic deaths of gray whales, or Eschrichtius robustus, on the west coast of North America. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says that from January 1st, 2019, to April 15th, 2020, a total of 215 dead whales have washed ashore in Alaska, Canada, the rest of the United States, and Mexico. Their bodies have sometimes been emaciated. A adult gray whale in good health is around 45 to 50 feet long and weighs about 36 to 40 tons. I've included a link to the relevant NOAA web page at the end of this article so that people can check the latest information about the situation if they wish.

Investigators aren't sure why the whale deaths are occurring. Food shortage due to a warming ocean and a reduction in sea ice produced by climate change is the leading theory. Despite their large size, the animals feed on tiny creatures. They are baleen whales that filter small and microscopic animals from the ocean. Arctic ice is involved in the availability of amphipods, the whales' primary prey.

Dead Whale on the Beach

Beached behemoth

Bones bleached by brilliance

Brittle beauty bearing blight

Begotten but betrayed

The Keeler oak tree is a white oak (Quercus alba) located in New Jersey. It's believed to be around 300 years old.
The Keeler oak tree is a white oak (Quercus alba) located in New Jersey. It's believed to be around 300 years old. | Source

The Magic of Trees

Trees often seem slightly magical to me, especially the mature and majestic specimens. Sitting under a large tree and looking upwards into its branches is a wonderful way to daydream. The oldest trees have seen a lot of history.

An individual tree can be a joy, but a group offers other benefits. "Forest bathing" is the process of taking a meditative walk through a forest, which can provide mental and physical benefits. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, reduce soil erosion, provide shade, and act as a buffer against wind.

Branches in the Wind

Branches bend beguiled

Beneficent breeze

bringing blessings

born beyond belief

Hedge bindweed flowers
Hedge bindweed flowers | Source

A Beautiful and Annoying Plant

Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) belongs to the morning glory family. Its large white flowers are indeed glorious. The showy white blossoms open in the morning and close in the evening or in dim light. They are shaped like a trumpet with a wide opening. The leaves of the plant are shaped like arrows.

The plant is a climbing vine that wraps tightly around objects in its path, including other plants. The second word in the hedge bindweed's name refers to its ability to bind other plants as it twines around them. The vine is hard to remove when it's reached this stage. Its fibrous roots and rhizomes (underground stems) are widespread, so even if the above-ground part of the plant is removed, a gardener still has a challenge ahead.

Hedge Bindweed

Bewitching blossoms

Blooming beautifully

Bestowing bridled bondage

beside bitter bewilderment

Roses growing in a rose garden
Roses growing in a rose garden | Source

A Season of Flowers

One of the chief joys of summer for me and I imagine for many other people is the wonderful variety of flowers that can be seen. Their colours and patterns are lovely. It sad when the blooms of a plant die, but they are replaced by flowers of another species in a beautiful succession. I enjoy examining wild and cultivated plants.

Watching insects as they explore blossoms is an intriguing activity, especially when a magnifying glass is used. Bees and beetles are important agents of pollination. Transfer of pollen from one flower to another enables fruit production and plant reproduction. It's a vital activity for us and for the Earth.

Insects and Summer Blossom

Bees buzzing by blooms

Bejeweled beetles beguiled

by blossom blankets

burying burdens beneath beauty

Himalayan blackberry thorns on a big cane after rain
Himalayan blackberry thorns on a big cane after rain

Himalayan Blackberries

Himalayan blackberries (Rubus armeniacus) are an invasive plant where I live. They often form dense and impenetrable thickets that cover items in their path and can be a major nuisance. Their berries are a wonderful treat, though. Blackberries bushes are sometimes known as brambles, especially when someone wants to emphasize their tangled and prickly nature.

The blackberries in my area used to ripen in early fall, but in each of the last few years they have ripened earlier than the year before. Last year I picked blackberries to eat in mid July. Picking the berries requires care due to the plant's thorns. They can give a painful jab.

Blackberries and Brambles

Beautiful berries

Bushes bearing blissful bites

Beloved but bittersweet

Bedeviled brambles bristling

Blunders bled by baleful barbs

Like a bridge over water, a writing challenge can lead to unexpected discoveries.
Like a bridge over water, a writing challenge can lead to unexpected discoveries. | Source

Writing Challenges and Prompts

Writing challenges can be fun. Participating in a challenge provides more benefits than just enjoyment, however. It's an educational experience. A challenge can push the writer into areas that they haven't experienced before and enable them to explore new skills that they might want to investigate further. The experience can improve the writer's ability, even if they aren't completely happy with the composition that they created for the challenge.

A writing prompt could be considered a subcategory of the writing challenge. A sentence, phrase, question, picture, or other prompt is presented and the writer is asked to respond with a composition. Multiple websites provide free writing prompts. I find some more stimulating than others, but I think it's good practice to try to respond even to prompts that seem uninteresting. They can all provide exercise for the brain. Prompting new ideas and enabling writers to practice new skills are important outcomes of any writing challenge.

Reference

Information about the 2019–2020 gray whale Unusual Mortality Event (UME) from NOAA

© 2019 Linda Crampton

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    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm glad you found the site useful.

    • profile image

      Manjeet Singh 

      4 weeks ago

      I am looking for some good blog sites for studying. I was searching over search engines and found your blog. Good blog sites for studying. I was searching over search engines and found your blog.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Devika. I always appreciate your visits.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      7 months ago

      Wow! A challenge you followed up to and did an interesting write up on nature. I am late on comments but I got the time to do comment and am amazed by your skills in writing of such topics. As always you surprise me with a new hub.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Mihai.

    • profile image

      mihbrinas 

      7 months ago

      These delicate poems will draw your attention.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      8 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the kind comment, Nithya.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 months ago from Dubai

      Beautifully expressed poems I enjoyed reading them. The poems come alive along with the background story that you have shared.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      9 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Virginia. The writing challenge was very enjoyable. I'm glad I discovered it.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      9 months ago from Central Florida

      An interesting challenge for writing poems. Fun.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Shey.

    • mygoblin profile image

      Shey Saints 

      10 months ago from Philippines

      Awesome poems! Most especially because you have shared their backstory!

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Brenda. I appreciate your visit. I think nature is awesome, too. It's always interesting to observe and study living things.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      10 months ago from Washington Court House

      Nature is awesome.

      You did a great job on Ann's challenge.

      I loved the way you not only wrote a poem but added details for each one.

      Great work.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      10 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Genna. I appreciate your visit at any time as well as your kind comment.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      10 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      So sorry I'm late. Nature is important to me as well and often features in my work, so I can so well relate as to why you find it so inspirational, Linda. I just love your answer to Ann's challenge. Beautiful poetry, and such a skillful use of the abecedarian style,

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks, Denise. I appreciate your kindness. Blessings to you as well.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      11 months ago from Fresno CA

      What a great creative outlet. I love the blossom blankets. I'm not sure I could do this. Kuddos.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Heidi. I hope you have a great weekend.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      11 months ago from Chicago Area

      And today's post is brought to you by the letter "b." :)

      Clever use of abecedarian (now my vocabulary has been expanded) technique combined with your amazing nature photos!

      Thank you for always sharing your gifts and insight with us. Happy Weekend!

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much, Flourish! I appreciate your kind comment a great deal.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      I loved the alliteration here and your topics were superbly selected. What a wonderful combination of creativity and educating others!

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for commenting, Chuck. I enjoy participating in writing challenges. They are certainly useful.

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 

      11 months ago from Tucson, Arizona

      I liked the way you presented a picture, a description of the plant or animal in the picture followed by the poem. This made for an interesting read. I also agree with your comment about writing challenges. I have participated in the a couple of writing challenges in the past and both were a great help in further developing my writing skills.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the kind and witty comment, Verlie. The current problems in nature are certainly alarming.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      11 months ago from Canada

      Beauty Linda, I appreciate your bright, bold, brisk, buoyant 'b' poems. A nice blend of poetry and documentary. Great response to Ann's abecedarian challenge. The whale die-off is indeed alarming.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Mary. Nature is a loving thing to discuss and celebrate!

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks, Bill. The problems with the whales are worrying. I hope a solution is found. It may require a major effort.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      11 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful pictures to accompany your lovely poem and explanation. I, too, love nature and this is such a tribute to what we enjoy each day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The gray whale situation is frightening; the same can be said about the Killer whales. I hope we figure out a solution and commit to it soon. Well done answering the challenge.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks, Pamela. The challenge was fun. I'm glad Ann created it.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you, Lorna. I appreciate your comment very much.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      11 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I liked your explanation for each poem, then you wrote each poes very well. You definitely rose to the challenge by Ann with this beautifully written article.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      11 months ago

      Such an interesting way to showcase your skills Linda. I love how your descriptions lead into your poems which highlight a form of poetry which is quite difficult to master. Great writing.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the visit and the comment, Liz.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 months ago from UK

      You have created a well-written and descriptive set of poems within tight constraints. I appreciate the way you have added background with each. This is an interesting and well-structured article.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, John. I appreciate your visit. I'm looking forward to reading your response to the challenge.

    • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Crampton 

      11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the comment, Bill. It is a fascinating technique. I'm going to continue exploring the different forms and their possibilities.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      11 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Linda you did a wonderful job with these poems and in response to Ann’s challenge. I also love the interesting facts you included. I have not read Ann’s hub issuing the challenge yet but this is the second response I have seen, so I need to check it out and take up the challenge myself.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      11 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Linda. I was not familiar with abecedarian poetry so thank you for the education. What a fascinating technique. I like how you introduced a scene from nature to us while meeting the challenge.

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