By Amy Foreman

A cold and rainy afternoon recently gave rise to this little idea of a poem-puzzle.  I challenged myself to write a poem where each word started with a different letter of the alphabet, in order, from A to Z.  I allowed myself up to three extra words not in the alphabetical line-up, and I allowed “X” to stand in for “Ex.” It was a fun little puzzle to try fitting some sense, a theme, a meter, and a rhyme all around the letters of the alphabet.

Here, in all their glory, are some ABC nonsense poems:


Age vs. Youth

Aches, Bursitis, Carpal-tunnel,
Deafness, Entropy
Frown-lines, Gout, and Halitosis:
It’s Just Kids Like Me
Never Open Pills, Quite Rightly
Shunning Therapy.
Upstart Vocal Weanlings X-ude
Youth so Zestfully.


Starry Night

As Birdsong Ceased, Dark Evening Fell,
Genteelly Hovering,
Its Jewelled Kiss, Love’s Magic-spell,
No Other Promising.
Quintillion Radiant Starships Tell
Unending Vision-ing
While X-tra-luminaries Yell
To Zillions star-gazing.


Why Is My Fridge Empty?

Able Boys Can Definitely
Eat Food Glutt’nously.
Ham In Juice, Kohlrabi, Lychees,
Milk-n-Nuts, Or Peas,
Quiche, Ricotta, Stewed Tomatoes,
Upside-down-cake, Veal,
Watermelon, X-tra Yogurt,
Ziti—makes a meal!


Now, it’s your turn! Post your ABC nonsense poems below in the comments section.


Amy Foreman hails from the southern Arizona desert, where she homesteads with her husband and seven children.  She has enjoyed teaching both English and Music at the college level, but is now focused on home-schooling her children, gardening, farming, and writing. Her blog is


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32 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    Sooooooo silly! Sooooooo much harder than it looks! Soooooooo . . . here goes nothing!

    Able bodied chef denies
    Edible fruits give health. Insists
    Juiced kiwi leaves’ll mesmerize.
    Neurotic ophthalmologists.
    Prepares quesadillas, roasted skink,
    Then uncooked veal with xanthic-yellow zinc.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Finding an “x” word that made any sense was quite a challenge, lol! I hope others give it a shot. You are one crazy, clever lady, Amy. Your kids must be getting a great education with you in charge.

  3. David Watt

    The puzzle idea is quite clever! Your poems set the bar very high.
    However, here follows my attempt:

    A boy could dance,
    Eye fondest glance,
    Hold in joyous kiss
    Love’s mad nuances.
    Over-pacing Quickstep,
    Rhumba, Samba, Tango;
    Until Vigour’s wantonness
    Expires youthful zoom.

  4. Joe Tessitore

    Great fun but I got just about nowhere with it; “All babies cry”, “Anybody care”, “Amy bakes cookies”.

    My hat’s off to all of you!

    • Amy Foreman

      “A bitter, crushing disaster, eh?” Thanks for trying it out, Joe! 😉

  5. Nick

    Query for the Hollow Men

    Across broken columns, did Eliot find greatness hiding in jeweled, kingly light?
    Maybe. Not.
    Or perhaps these questions reach, slowly, toward undulating, violent waves bringing exhausted, yellowed zeitgeists.

  6. Theo

    After bittersweet changes
    Dreams effortlessly flourish
    Glory humbles instantly
    Just kind loving
    moves nascent obstructions
    Proving quiet repose
    Settles tumultuous undulating
    Wonderful experiences yearning for

    • Amy Foreman

      The phrase “yearning for Zion” goes far beyond the “nonsense poem,” Theo. Well done!

  7. David Paul Behrens

    A to Z

    A Bible can divulge
    even far greater heights
    in justice, knowledge,
    learning, meaningfulness,

    neatly opening plentiful questions
    regarding subtle truths,
    upon very wide examination,
    yielding zestfulness.

    I do not belong to any church, nor exclusively adhere to any specific religion or school of thought. About ten years ago I read the Bible, cover to cover, word for word, in its entirety, just as though I was reading a novel or a biography. I found it to be full of truth, wisdom and philosophy. I recommend to any poet seeking inspiration. For me, it induced the revelation that Jesus Christ is the single most influential and important human being in the history of mankind. As a result, he is my only hero. Speaking of revelations, I think the Book of Revelations is a fantasy and should be dropped from the Bible. It does more harm than good. (Funny how
    your little poetry puzzle challenge yielded all these thoughts. Thank you, Amy)

    • Amy Foreman

      Fabulous poem, David! I am so impressed by the depth and meaning in all the poems contributed thus far. I’m so glad others are enjoying this challenge, too!

  8. Damian Robin

    Hi Amy
    thanks for sharing your rainy day play.
    Impressive so many can follow your way
    and make so much sense
    from the small and dense
    with only three extra words for lee-way.

    Some time ago I had the notion
    to set alphabetical acrostical poemicals in motion;
    but Oh how tiresome,
    Oh how rum,
    to bid ev’ry letter of the alphabet come.

    So, to avoid the
    awkward x, y, z,
    I filled my head
    awful words instead.
    awfull (but seldom awe-full)
    a-w full
    a to w full
    a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w full
    absurds. Yes,
    nonsense bonne-sense
    that may be

    a bit clearer down every future gully
    having ingeniously juggled knowledge lovingly
    more narrow or perhaps quintessentially ravingly sense-less
    to ultimate vanity’s wilderness

    Yes, awful, isn’t it?

    But more fun than an alligator bun.
    Thanks, Amy,
    For the opportunity,

  9. Amy Foreman

    Here’s another one for the computer age:

    Always back computer drivers.
    Every file gets held.
    Index JPGs, key logins,
    Never overstuff your PC;
    Quick reboots save time.
    Under valid warranteeing,
    X-cel yields zilch crime!

    And a little explosive chemistry:

    After benevolent chemists decant ether’s foam,
    Gaseous helium instantly joins kaolin’s loam.
    Manganese, nitrogen, oxygen, all polychrome,
    Quickly react, so that “unbreakable” velodrome
    Wildly explodes yeasty zeppelins under its dome.

  10. Steven Shaffer

    Always betting, commonly doleful,
    eager, frequent, gaming hopeful.
    Incredible jackpot – my king! my liege!
    money bestows noblesse oblige.
    Practice quiet, regulatory stealth;
    taxes unpaid — volatile wealth.
    Extraordinary young zillionaire!

  11. Damian Robin

    Hi Amy, more fuel for the fire, I have no available awfuls—the one above was made on the spot as I have not kept the origional batch (from decades ago) though I may have one in an old magazine somewhere.
    Amazed at the full rhymes people have achieved. Here, I’ve managed 7 x 7-syllable lines with four half rhyme endings spaced by none-rymed lines.
    I may have cheated by using Mandarin words: Xin1xing4 – moral character and Zhen1 – Truth
    —I hope the content does not scare anyone off
    Very Best Damian

    Amid Boundless Confusion,
    Dafa Expands; Falun Gong
    Heals Inside-out. Justice, Known,
    Lifts Majorities’ Non-life.
    Opened, Pure, Quiet Reason
    Sustains Them, Uplifts Virtue,
    Wisdom’s Xinxing, Yielding Zhen.

    • Amy Foreman

      Wow! Impressively plotted out in an amazing 7×7 poetry grid! Very difficult to do. Bravo, Damian!

  12. Damian Robin

    Addicted, bother …

    Penalty Shootout

    Ball Centered.

    Eyes Focusing

    He Inhales.
    Jimmies. Kicks …

    Lops Miserably…
    Nicks Outer Post!

    Qualifying Roasts …

    Starts Turning Upfield, Visibly Worn.

    X. Young. Zero.

    • Amy Foreman

      So sorry I didn’t see this fabulous ABC poem until now, Damian! This is just genius, the spacing, the punctuation, the structure. Really, really good!

      • Damian Robin

        Thanks Amy, I was beginning to think it was TOO non-traditional!

  13. Amy Foreman

    Absolutely not to non-traditional, Damian. It may be my favorite one yet, simply because it doesn’t feel forced at all, even though it has been squeezed into this extremely limiting form. Great job! I, also, am a bit addicted to this puzzle when I have the time and inclination . . . so here’s another one about calling the kids home to supper . . .

    Atlases best can direct every fourth-grader home.
    Instantly, juvenile kids loudly make noise or phone.
    Quickly returning, by some transportation unknown,
    Vaulting those wayward x-patriates back to your zone.

      • Damian Robin

        Astonishing! Brilliant, Cadenced Dactyls …
        (Excuses Florrish, Guiding Hopelessness In —
        Just Kan’t Keep up — Kompetitive, Loco Mentality .. Me, me …

        Bravo, Amy,
        dexterous prosody,
        rhythm and symmetry.
        [Though I think you missed a bit—
        shouldn’t ‘noise’ be ‘noises’
        in the midst of it
        to keep the dactyl’s poises?]
        It wonderfully evokes the peel,
        the belling mayhem of the meal,
        the calling to of mini hordes
        from far and wide and odd abroads;
        the homely, mini refectory,
        that may be in a mini assembly hall
        where some sense of parity
        with the wider educational sprawl
        is as good as it can be.

        [ I home schooled my kids
        — or ‘home educated’ as we say
        in this across-the-water here UK —
        with my wife and many bids
        to higher beings to keep the lids
        on stew pots and the binned get-rids.
        The memories don’t disappear
        though all growed up and in their 20s
        with some, as adults, still living here,
        and that is plenties!! ]

        That you appear sane and happy and have time for yourself in poetry is praise for well done schooling — that your children must be paying back some of what you’ve taught them.

        PS Did you know, in Chinese the word for ‘name’ is the sign for dusk above the sign for mouth. It alludes to parents calling their children home in the evening.



  14. Amy Foreman

    What a lovely post, Damian! And it was wonderful to read that you and your wife home-educated your kids. My husband and I have made many mistakes as parents, but schooling the kids at home was not one of them!

    Glad the public system
    Missed ’em!
    We were happy to assist ’em!

    Proverbs says, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” It’s the truth. All seven of ours (ages 12 through 22) are a constant delight, and give both my husband and me rest. I think the closeness that comes from schooling at home fosters a big bunch of goodwill between the kids and the parents and between the kids and each other. . . even though all of us occasionally do drive one another crazy! Still, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Blessings to you and your family!

  15. Vanth Seven

    This was a super fun post to read. I did a similar challage is my old writing group. It was to write a poem with song titles from only 1 band. Perhaps you would like to try. I chose the Grateful Dead. You could use extra words to connect sentences but every line has to contain a song title.
    Death is Life for the Grateful Dead
    The dark star is coming
    She is the October Queen
    The saint of circumstance

    Pick up you’re china doll little queen
    Forget the sins of your father
    There is work to be done
    Their watching you from Franklyn’s tower

    Your warrior awaits you in this broke down palace
    In his hand a box of rain
    He is the estimated prophet
    A trinket grail but the blood is purely yours

    Venture through the cold rain and snow and pay your tariff
    At Terrapin station all the while whispering he’s gone
    But here in your fathers last temple he whispers back
    She belongs to me

    A thirteen point lightning rod will steel your face
    Just as Jack Straw leads you through
    Shakedown St mumbling to himself
    About yesterday’s Mexicali blues

    In the days between there are no easy answers
    Believe it or not all we are is just a ripple
    In the black muddy river

    Blow away your foolish hearts
    You are neither the victim or the crime
    In this strange world
    This night of a thousand stars

    Here only the strange remain even so
    You were built to last you’re the mind bender
    A ramble on rose here where
    Time never ends just empty pages in the
    Greatest story never told

    Dance your samba in the rain
    Underneath the Banyan tree
    Celebrate childhoods end

    Black throated wind blows through the
    Fire on the mountain in a touch of gray
    There stands Wharf Rat throwing stones
    Beckoning to you with crazy fingers

    “My queen from the heart of me there is help on the way
    Please let me sing our blues away I find you easy to love
    If I had the world to give I would wrap it just for you
    Wrap it in scarlet begonias”

    Dire wolf circles through the fennario and the demon daughters
    Standing on the moon are linked by an unbroken chain
    Getting drunk on the pride of Cucamonga

    Dire wolf lets out a mighty roar “Be gone black Peter
    Take your demon wife’s with you I know you rider
    You friend of the devil”

    “Nihil interesse inter diemet saeculum”
    No Peter this is the poorest day to die but you for you
    Death don’t have no mercy
    It’s just like any other day that’s ever been

    The only time is now sweet crimson rose
    Peter’s blood runs to sweet ruby Cerise from his foolish heart
    Yet Reuben and Cerise are merely the Pirouette in the carnival
    And I’m your fatal vision

    Wave to the wind I will show you the way to go home
    With my immortal kiss now just through that corps aside
    All liars, pretender , Peter , Rueben , Wharf Rat it makes no differences in a name
    The righteous purest will ascend while ravens sing you to sleep

    “Never trust a women” Silents wolf I am death I am the big bad wolf you fool
    I am the nightmare that never ends you are just the thorn of the rose vine
    Encompassing life’s mortal coil little queen
    Lazy lightning resembles the wolfs smirk of a smile
    Smile smile smile

    I know you yet you feel like a stranger
    I am the strange the martyrdom the keeper of the rose
    But I have no need for the attics of my life
    Oh my little China doll

    Righteous blood will feed your soul and the strength of hatred
    Will fuel you for the journey down the lazy river road
    You see a broken heart I see a new beginning

    It must have been the roses that led you to me
    Come your lost sailor awaits in the last of your fathers homes
    In the musk rat flats there the last red wood temple dwells
    Your ancient prince sitting with a grail of memories
    And a box of rain.
    By Vanth Seven (Enjoy)

    • Amy Foreman

      What fun, Vanth Seven! This could be a great rainy day game–now if only there would be another rainy day in Arizona! Thanks so much for sharing this!


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