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Nature Poems and Facts Based on Abecedarian Techniques

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 16, 2020:

Thank you for such a kind comment, Moondot. I appreciate your visit and your kindness very much.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on August 16, 2020:

I am speechless, Alicia. The way you combine nature, poetry and knowledge is admirable. I was randomly searching and my eye fell on your article. Seriously, it was an amazing read. I feel sad for the death of whales and 300 years old tree looks very mysterious.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 16, 2020:

I appreciate your comment, thoughtsprocess. Thank you for the visit.

thoughtsprocess from Navsari (India) on August 16, 2020:

Beautifully expressed poems. I enjoyed reading them. Thank you so much for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 06, 2020:

Thank you very much for the comment, Chuck. I appreciate your visit.

Chuck Nugent from Tucson, Arizona on August 06, 2020:

I am not much of a poetry enthusiast but found your article very interesting. In addition to being introduced to abecedarian poetry I enjoyed reading about the plants and animals you described and especially enjoyed your great photos. Good article

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 05, 2020:

Thank you for the comment, Peggy. Climate change is creating many problems. It's a worrying situation.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2020:

Thanks for introducing me to a form of poetry of which I was unfamiliar. I enjoyed your subjects and how you approached the challenge. That is sad about the deaths of so many grey whales. I hope it does not continue, but fear that if it is climate change causing it, those deaths will continue to mount up.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 31, 2020:

I'm glad you found the site useful.

Manjeet Singh on May 31, 2020:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 28, 2019:

Thank you, Devika. I always appreciate your visits.

Devika Primic on November 28, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 19, 2019:

Thank you, Mihai.

mihbrinas on November 18, 2019:

These delicate poems will draw your attention.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 10, 2019:

Thanks for the kind comment, Nithya.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 09, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 09, 2019:

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

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on September 09, 2019:

An interesting challenge for writing poems. Fun.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 02, 2019:

Thank you very much, Shey.

Shey Saints from Philippines on September 02, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 27, 2019:

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 from Washington Court House on August 27, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 18, 2019:

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

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on August 18, 2019:

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,

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 06, 2019:

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

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 06, 2019:

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

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2019:

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

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 03, 2019:

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!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2019:

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

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 02, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 02, 2019:

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

Chuck Nugent from Tucson, Arizona on August 02, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2019:

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

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on August 01, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2019:

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

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 01, 2019:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 01, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2019:

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

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 01, 2019:

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 on August 01, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 31, 2019:

Thank you for the visit and the comment, Liz.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 31, 2019:

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.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 31, 2019:

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

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 31, 2019:

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

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on July 31, 2019:

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.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 31, 2019:

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.