Abecedarius Poetry Form

Abecedarius is a lyrical poem composed as an acrostic employing the poetic device of the first letters of its lines forming an alphabet. To use the alphabet in a unique manner is the creative challenge of this genre, other than the obvious of finding words for the letters x and z.

Alphabetic acrostics first appear in Hebrew religious poetry found in the Old Testament. It seems that using letters of the alphabet as the initial letter of each line was thought by ancient cultures to connect the human with the divine. This device was considered a conduit to God and was commonly used in prayers, hymns and oracles.

According to the Harper Collins Study Bible; 1993, one variant of the Abecedarius is found beginning with Psalm 9 and continuing through Psalm 10:18. There, every other line begins with a sequential letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Another is found in Psalm 119, written in 22 stanzas of 8 lines. All lines in a given stanza begin with the same letter. Too bad the English translation does not reflect the Hebrew alphabetical sequence.

In modern times, the alphabet is often found in word games for children and is sometimes called the ABC Poem.
Psalm in Action by Judi Van Gorder

All praise our Creator, called by many names,
Blessed is the work of His hands.
Cant in dulcet tones His psalms,
Dance with energy in His presence
Eager to follow His lead 
For faith is an action word.
Gather the oppressed, offer support,
Hold them close in His name.
Include all who ask, honor those who don’t.
Joyfully serve all of His commands.
Kindle a flame in your heart to
Light the way for others that they may see,
Mantled by His virtue, we endure.
No one is less in His sight
Offer sustenance and acceptance to all.
Protect with fervor His creation.

Quiet is His manner, 
Righteousness His strength,
Science His invention,
Time His plan. 
Unconditional is His love, 
Vast His ability to forgive,
Wise His teachings and
Xenias, His gifts given in abundance. 
Yes, is my answer to His call, my
Zeal, will be tempered by tolerance in His image.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1064
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.


My example
There was an Old Lady

An old lady, I first thought
But then I looked again
Certainly she’s maybe not
Defined as old my friend.

Especially in times of later born –
Fine times in which we live.
Granted, that she does seem worn
Having always had to give.

I know she was a helpmate first,
Joining with her man each day,
Keeping order when the worst
Lean times came their way.

Mostly she performed
Necessary tasks
Often, when informed –
Probably unasked.

Quietly she made a life,
Raising children, teaching.
Steadily, her husband’s wife
Taking without over-reaching.

Usual days would end in prayer,
Verses would be read you bet.
Wondrous things we not yet there;
X-rays weren’t invented yet.

Yes, she pre-dated bodice rippers,
Zones for buses, even zippers.

Note:  This is not an ABCDarilus Poetry form, for it lacks the spiritual or historic reference.
It is properly filed under ABC Poem.

Parallelismus Membrorum

Parallelismus Membrorum or grammatical parallelism is of traditional Hebrew origin and dates back to biblical times. It is an independent clause presenting parallels or opposites in balance using contrasting and complimentary extensions.
The verse employs the same grammatical elements for each side of the parallel. This pattern is often used in prose poetry or is written in long lines often broken at the caesura into couplets making 2 short lines, 4 to 6 words each.
From the Hebrew text Proverbs 10:1
A wise son gladdens his father,
but a foolish son grieves his mother.
Pasted from <http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?/topic/1919-parallelismus-membrorum-or-gramatical-parallelism/>

Soft Spoken…Strong Voice(Parallelismus Membrorum)

Speak to me;
strong voiced I am;
I am the powerful wind
and softest feathers;
I’m just a person
not yet heard clearly
Don’t turn away
from what might be truth

Author Notes
Parallelismus Membrorum is of traditional Hebrew origin. It has lines of parallel construction and presents antitheses and complementary extensions. The lines are usually short and contain three of four words
Written September 14th, 200
Pasted from <http://allpoetry.com/poem/1511575-Soft-Spoken…Str-wbr-ong-Voice-Parall-wbr-elismus-Membrorum–by-B_Chandler>

Do not let me enter;
do not shut me out;
I am the hurricane
and the gentle breeze;
I am a memory
you have forgotten
and I am the future
that will never be.

Pasted from <http://members.optushome.com.au/kazoom/poetry/parallelismus.html>
A broader look:
Parallelism means giving two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern.
Parallelisms of various sorts are the chief rhetorical device of Biblical poetry in Hebrew.[1] In fact, Robert Lowth coined the term “parallelismus membrorum (parallelism of members, i.e. poetic lines) in his 1788 book, Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrew Nation. Roman Jakobson pioneered the secular study of parallelism in poetic-linguistic traditions around the world, including his own Russian tradition.[2] Parallelism can be found in several works by Edgar Allan Poe, namely “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee”.
In addition, Chinese poetry uses parallelism in its first form. In a parallel couplet not only must the content, the parts of speech, the mythological and historico- geographical allusions, be all separately matched and balanced, but most of the tones must also be paired reciprocally. Even tones are conjoined with inflected ones, and vice versa.[3]
“We charge him with having broken his coronation-oath – and we are told that he kept his marriage-vow! We accuse him of having given up his people to the merciless inflictions of the most hard-hearted of prelates – and the defense is that he took his little son on his knee and kissed him. We censure him for having violated the Petition of Right – and we are informed that he was accustomed to hear prayers at six o’clock in the morning.” (Macaulay)
“Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered).” a comment reportedly written by (Julius Caesar)
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” (Churchill)
“But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos)
In grammar, parallelism is a balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses. The application of parallelism in sentence construction can sometimes improve writing style clearness and readability. It can also strengthen sequences described. Parallelism may also be known as parallel structure or parallel construction. In English, parallelism of the predicate provides for one of the few structural situations in which the subject for each verb does not need restatement. Parallelism is often achieved in conjunction with other stylistic principles, such as antithesis, anaphora, asyndeton, climax, epistrophe, and symploce.
Pasted from <http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101214112153AAtR1sc>

My example

Affectation (Parallelism Membrorum)

There is no cure for faux affection
Except for early foe detection.
There is no balm for trust that’s lost
And both parties must bear the cost.

© Lawrencealot – July 13, 2014