Alphabestiary poetry form

The Alphabestiary a type of Acrostic or more specifically an Alphabet poem, which dates back to Greece in the 2nd and 3rd centuries but truly came into its own in medieval England. There is no required line length, meter, or rhyme scheme. The only requirement is that each letter of the alphabet is described poetically as an animal or in human terms. In medieval times illustrations of the animals accompanied the poem. It is a stylized variation of theBestiary or Physiologus.

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Alluring Abalone, Mother of Pearl, sea’s acclaim,
Bright Bluebirds, happiness chortling a song,
Chirping Cicada, singing its way to fame,
Dramatic Dolphins sleek and strong.
Energetic Elands roam plains and plateaus,
grazing in peace or running from foes.
Freaky frogs freely hop round bog,
Great Gulls, fearless flying in fog.
Hovering Hummingbirds, still in mid-air
Irritated Iguana hisses to scare.
Jiggly Jellyfish grace with a sting,
Krikey Koalas climb trees and cling.
Lithe Leopard, spots disguise the wise,
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Mama Manatee’s girth, a sea cow’s worth,
Nature’s Nightingales serenade ’til sunrise.
Odd Ostrich, buries head in earth
Picky Penguins mate for life
Quick Quagga, extinct and can’t find a wife.
Raped Rhinoceros horns make thieves prosperous,
Slick Sea lions slip away from seas phosphorous.
Theatrical Toucan bright yellow and green,
Unseen Unicorn, fabled protector queen
.Venatic Vulture, carrion, seeking dead,
Watchful Whale nurses, mother-child bond,
Xanthic Xoni’s horn frozen to Pakistani pond.
Youthful yapok, black and white striped head,
Zealous Zopilote, black bird of dread.
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Alphabestiary by Frank Gibbard
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A Respect aardvark
Not first up on ark,
But by dint of a b c
Is in every dictionary.
B Be wary on meeting a genuine bear
Better by far if you can to forbear –
Best not be gulled by its Teddy Bear looks,
The barefaced depiction of forests of books.
C Cats are their very own best friends
Their comfort over all transcends.
The only reason they let us stay,
Unfed they’d up and run away.
D Dog is man’s best friend so they say
In essence just a wolf gone tame
That saw in life an easier way
When into our homes it happily came.
E Eagles have had the highest billing
As national symbols in Rome and the States
Appropriate efficient machine for killing
Predator assassin: one of the greats.
F Fox is wily, fox is cunning
Always hunted, ever running.
G The zoo enclosure held no gnu
The keeper knew not what to do,
Any animal’s bad to lose
But no Gnus is even worser news.
H Hound alphabetically goes after fox
Which parenthetically is how it gets off its rocks.
I A zoo ibex though knowing
It’s just a goat
Is inwardly glowing
With cause to gloat
It snoots at the average common creature
Without an “x” to boast as a notable feature
But vexing this ibex, and how
His life now stinks,
Next cage they’re annexing now
An exasperating lynx.
J Jaguar
A car
And more:
A carnivore.
K An Aussie koala bear,
Being astutely self aware
Knows it’s not a bear
And will tell any oiks who
Seem to think it’s bloody funny
To proffer pots of honey:
“Streuth mate! I’m not bleeding Winnie The Pooh.”
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L Llama a bit like a camel
But flat backed with no lump
Known abroad not near so well
Is likely to get the hump
And morph into the queen of drama
If confused with the Dalai Lama.
M M is for man
And also for monkey
In terms Darwinian
We’re much the same, thunk he.
N The Australian numbat despite the “bat”
Is not a flying beast
And among things suffixed thus
Is probably known the least .
But brighter than ding,
You wouldn’t call it a kick-it failure
Though your num trails behind
After wom, fruit and cricket
In its native home Australia.
O Oh the okapi
Has a name that rhymes with happy
And I hear a tongue, such a lucky break
That sinuously like a snake
Your okapi chappy insinuates and steers
Into the crevices of its ears.
Thereby, effectively clearing
The aural fluff that’ll
Tend to muffle hearing.
P Porcupines by Nature’s deft designs
Protected against their enemy by deadly spines
Which lay a minefield for the sexual act
Unless approached with utmost tact
The simple business of reproduction
Pawplayed by careful introduction
Of one to the other, a precise seduction
Before attempted impregnation
While risking thus a painful prick
Porcupines pull off their prickly trick
Of prestidigitation.
Q Quail in bird terms is small potatoes
Its political namesake is too
And when it comes to spelling potato
That’s something Dan Quayle could not do.
R Reindeer antlers
From the Laplands
Headgear transplanted
Into hatstands.
S Skunk and swine
Both terms of abuse
But the progenitors of these names
Are inheritors of philological misuse
If I may so humbly opine.
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That this natural punk when threatened stunk
Can hardly be denied
But herbal skunk inhales well in flames
Or so I heard implied.
Revere swine as the class porcine
Deify their meat as it eats divine.
A young but short-sighted suburban snake
looked around for a suitable date to take,
he thought he’d found a willing girl
around whom he threw a sensuous curl
but sadly not seeing what he tried to propose
would have no appeal to a garden hose.
T Ageing tiger turning white
Dozing through the long long night
Whatever power made you wither
May seem a sort of Indian giver,
Blake’s divine description does not say
Each mighty tiger loses sway.
U If you were a modern Noah
And a flood occurred
Would you put up an umbrella bird?
V Vegetarians are as strange birds
As you are like to meet,
They seem to think that sausages
Should not contain any meat,
Though bangers were made for the likes of us
So we might feel replete.
Why can’t they find their own bleeding names
For what they choose to eat?
W The wolf is a slavouring and predacious beast
Seeking fresh flesh on which he’d just love to feast
But this wolf-man lets down his much better bred males
And in pursuit of his desires often letches and fails.
By contrast real wolves rarely stray from their lairs
Inclined by fair Nature to bond in tight pairs.
X You never find the xenopus toad
Around an X ray fish;
One inhabits a dry abode
The other’s somewhat wettish.
Y It’s no Shangri La for the yak
A beast of burden Tibetans pack
With prodigious loads on its straining back
Oh put upon yak, alas alack.
Z The enclosures and cages of a zoo
Are like the pages of an Animals Who’s Who
From aardvark to zebra exotic fauna are filed
In our attempt to incarcerate the wild
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Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

I see no reason why to add my own example on this one. 

Related forms: ABC Poems, Abecedarius, Alliterated Alphabet Poem, Alphabesiary, Iroha Mokigusari, Twenty-six letter, twenty-six words

Alliterated Alphabet Poem poetry form

Alliterated alphabet poem, this variation is written with almost every word within the line beginning with the same letter of the alphabet.

Tail Wagging by Judi Van Gorder

Telling two trollops to take time to testify.
Unrelenting umpires usually understand
Vesting vapid vulgarities
Without woefully worrying wanton women.

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Related forms: ABC Poems, Abecedarius, Alliterated Alphabet Poem, Alphabeastiary, Iroha Mokigusari, Twenty-six letter, twenty-six words

My example

Church Dance (Alliterated Alphabet Poem)

Being behind bothered brother Brown
Causing cautious Cardinals cold concern.
Did daily dances drive decorum down?
Evidently entertainment’s easily earned.

© Lawrencealot – September 2, 2014

Alliterative Acrostic Trigee poetry form

Alliterative Acrostic Trigee takes the concept of 3 poems in 1 to another level. It was presented as a challenge on a poetry forum. A three in one poem (Trigee), alliterated and the first letter of each line spells a word. Number of lines, meter and rhyme at the discretion of the poet.

Titan by Judi Van Gorde

Tall tasks talk to me . . . . . . . . . .. . . Ten times over I try
in tantamount with the tax . . . . . . . . to temper tradition
tame and trip thought. . . . . . . . . . . . tell a timeless tale
and tender a tome . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . testament of truth
not terse nor tentative but . . . . . . .. . to be tenable to a tempest

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Related forms:  Trick Poetry

How to write one:
1. Pick a word which will become the acrostic seed.
The letters of that word will become successively, the first
letters of each line in the poem. (Usually, also the title.)

2. Select a line-length, and if you are so disposed, also a meter.
3. Divide that line into two more or less equal lengths.
4. Choose rhyme pattern if desired
5. Write away.

My example

Done (Alliterative Acrostic Trigee)

Don’t do it darn it Dad.                       Darn it Dad, you did it.
One darn drink leads to more;            Daddy drank Drambuie
Now smooth and strong is sad,          good sense should forbid it.
Enjoy it on the floor!                          Mommy moaned “Oh phooey.”

© Lawrenealot – September 1, 2014




Aeolic Ode

Aeolic Verse refers to meters commonly used in the lyrical works of Sappho and Alcaeus. Aeolis was the west and northwestern region of Asia Minor which included most of the Greek city-states and the Island of Lesbos in the 8th to 6th centuries BC, the Greek Dark Ages. Four classic meters are known from that culture, the Alcaic Stanza, the Sapphic Stanza, Glyconics (the basic form of Aeolics) and Hendecasyllabic Verse. The verse is quantitative, usually hendecasyllabic, employing 11 syllables and often includes an anceps, a quantitative metric foot that includes a syllable that could be interpreted either long or short. The meter helped set a tranquil or contemplative tone. Aeolic poetry.

• The Aeolic Ode is the earliest of the Odes, the product of an ancient Greek culture but I’ve found little descriptive information other than some quantitative scansion showing a similarity to the Adonic line of the Sapphic strophe. It is said to have a contemplative or tranquil tone.
• An asclepiad is one of the Aeolic meters attributed to Asclepiades of Samos. The aclepiad follows a particular metric pattern. It is built around the choriamb (metric pattern of LssL). The common example is a spondee followed by 2 choriambs and an iamb. LL LssL LssL sL, (L = long syllable, s = short syllable) the meter was used by Horace and others in Latin.

An example in English is: In Due Season by WH Auden
Springtime, Summer and Fall: days to behold a world
Antecedent to our knowing, where flowers think
Theirs concretely in scent-colors and beasts, the same
Age all over, pursue dumb horizontal lives.
On one level of conduct and so cannot be
Secretary to man’s plot to become divine.
Lodged in all is a set metronome: thus, in May
Bird-babes, still in the egg, click to each other “Hatch!”;
June-struck cuckoos go off pitch when obese July
Turns earth’s heating up; unknotting their poisoned ropes.
Vipers move into play; warmed by October’s nip,
Younger leaves to the old give the releasing draught.
Winter, though, has the right tense for a look indoors
At ourselves and with First Names to sit face to face,
Time for reading of thoughts, time for trying out
Of new meters and new recipes, proper time
To reflect on events noted in warmer months
Till, transmuted, they take part in a human tale.
There, responding to our cry for intelligence,
Nature’s mask is relaxed into a mobile grin,
Stones, old shoes, come alive, born sacramental signs,
Nod to us in the First Person of mysteries.
They know nothing about, bearing a mess from
The invisible sole Source of specific things.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Long Island University, C.W. Post College
Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the wonderful PMO site. It is a wonderful resource.

Other Odes: Aeolic OdeAnacreontic Ode, Choral Ode or Pindaric Ode or Dorian Ode, Cowleyan Ode or Irregular Ode, Horatian OdeKeatsian or English Ode, RonsardianOde

Thematic Odes:

Elegy, Obsequy, Threnody Ode
Elemental Ode
Genethliacum Ode
Encomium or Coronation Ode
Epithalamion or Epithalamium and Protholathiumis
Palinode Ode
Panegyric or Paean
Triumphal Ode
Occasional Verse

Dear Readers,

The information taken from above and elsewhere leaves me in a state of confusion and despair. It seems that since the forms of that Greek and Latin era were both quantitative and irregular, and based upon long-short sounds that English (outside of music) does not do well, emphasizing instead stressed vs unstressed syllables – that I must take the bull by the horns and announce that since 21st century poets are
transformative (as all poets have been), I shall herein transform.

I have devised for my structure of the Aeolic Ode the following metric. It incorporates:
(1) Adonic line – a verse line with a dactyl followed by a spondee or trochee; supposedly used in laments by Adonis.
(2) Hendecasyllabic lines,
(3) A choriamb, to approximate an asclepiad.
(4) A foot that possesses an optional stress (approximating an anceps)
(5) The four metric feet include two, three, and four-toed metric feet. That alone is irregular.
(6) Rhyme is purely optional, in use and position.
(7) Stanza length and number is left to poets discretion.

First foot: A Dactyl
2nd foot: Either a spondee or a trochee|
3rd foot: A Choriamb (DUM da da DUM)
4th foot: An Iamb

Below is my example poem, and a visual template for my version of the Aeolic Ode for the 21st Century.

Ode to a Three-toed Sloth (Aeolic Ode)
Praise now the three-toed sloth who’s a folivore.
Hang he does, upside down, in a tranquil way
Eating the leaves and shoots and not needing more.
Cockroaches, moths and algae and ciliates,
beetles and fungi call his hair home sweet home.
He is a happy host for a range of life.
Eating what other cannot abide, he takes
Much time for every action for little food
value has leaves. Digestion requires a month.
Though he’ll descend each week just to take a leak
poop and then cover up the latrine he dug,
he’s most content up high. Do you wonder why?
Everything’s done upside down because of claws
made for that task, including a nap and sex.
Even some sloths who died have remained attached.
Half of the muscle mass that’s allotted to
beasts of their same size saves that hard- gleaned glucose
Therefore a sloth’s sloth screams “elegant” design.
© Lawrencealot – August 15, 2014
Visual template for this particular form.
Aeolic Ode

Alcaic Stanza poetry form

Alcaics “gives an impression of wonderful vigour and spontaneity”. The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia. The stanzaic form is attributed to the poet Alceaus 6th century BC and is an Aeolic classic meter.

Alcaics stanzaic form is:
• stanzaic, any number of quatrains may be written.
• metric, quantitative verse. The first 3 lines are 5 metric feet and the last line, 4 metric feet with a specific combination of trochees and dactyls. There are variations on the rhythm of the Alcaics quatrain but the following (one source refers to it as the dactyl Alcaic quatrain) seems to me the most common as demonstrated in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Milton.

(acephalous refers to the missing 1st syllable of an iambic foot)

L1 & L2 acephalous iamb, 2 trochees and 2 dactyls;
L3 acephalous iamb, 4 trochees;
L4 2 dactyls 2 trochees in that order

Quantitative Verse

Milton Part I by Alfred Lord Tennyson 1891
O mighty-mouth’d inventor of harmonies,
O skill’d to sing of Time or Eternity,
God-gifted organ-voice of England,
Milton, a name to resound for ages;
Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,
Starr’d from Jehovah’s gorgeous armouries,
Tower, as the deep-domed empyrean
Rings to the roar of an angel onset–
Me rather all that bowery loneliness,
The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,
And bloom profuse and cedar arches
Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean,
Where some refulgent sunset of India
Streams o’er a rich ambrosial ocean isle,
And crimson-hued the stately palm-woods
Whisper in odorous heights of even.
Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example poem

Middle Class Morass (Alcaics)

O Yes! The rich have bankable balances;
O Yes! they choose the candidate’s policies.
Not those for whom the dole is dribbled,
though they contribute the votes those men need.

© Lawrencealot – August 3 , 2014
Visual Template
(4 lines or multiple)

Streambed's Ripple poetry form

Streambed’s Ripple a form created by Lisa Morris known as Streambed on

It is:

Stanzaic: Written in 3 ten line stanzas

Syllabic: 10/8/10/8/10/10/10/8/10/8

Refrain:  Requires the last half of L5 to repeat in each stanza

Rhymed: xaxaBbxaxa xcxcBbxcxc xdxdBbxdxd

Metric: Written in iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter


Example poem

Love’s Corset     (Streambed’s Ripple)

For centuries we have believed
the attributes of form
as they relate to motherhood
ought be considered norm.
So bind yourself with stays and lace
before you paint or rouge your face.
For parturition hips must be
expanded, round and warm.
The breasts to suckle one or more
are ample to conform.
A standard then however wrought
in western cultures seem
to drive the fashion engines to
promote this female scheme.
So women then with stays and lace
constrict themselves so men will chase.
But girls have found and boys have too
that essence reigns supreme,
and being kind and being true
is what will fuel love’s dream.
Once one is found to share your heart,
then regulate your mind
and recognize that devotion
provides the stays that bind.
I’ll bind my love with stays and lace
to make sure romance stays in place
and corset non-complying thoughts
and set them far behind.
For nothing fits the human soul
like lovers so aligned.
© Lawrencealot – April 19, 2014

Wounded Couplet poetry form

This is a form invented by Lisa Morris , aka Streambed on Allpoetry.

This form contains within its rhyming pattern, two couplets, one of which seems wounded, and is wrapped by four other lines, hence some rationale for its name.

It is stanzaic, consisting of any number of octains.
It is syllabic 10/10/6/10/10/10/10/10
It is metric, using iambic meter.

It is rhymed, the pattern being: abccbadd

Example Poem


Elixir     (Wounded Couplet)

My lover went a wandering I think
for he believes that magic will restore
his potency and verve.
He wants to play around is all.  What nerve!
He claims he’s seeking mermaids by the shore
to find for him an elixir to drink.
Which beats testosterone in every way
whenever fortitude comes into play.


The tavern called the “Wharf” is near the beach
and frequently young barmaids catch his eye
(which seldom scans the shore.)
Perhaps it’s just the scanty clothes they wore
I guess he’ll look for fairies by and by.
The man’s intent let’s try not to impeach.
If elixir’s at home in foaming glass
he’ll need a test, and’s sure to make a pass.


I figured then that two could play that game
so put on fairy costume with a mask
and strode into the bar.
The men’s reactions  bordered on bizarre.
I had five drinks and didn’t have to ask,
But all their pick-up lines were truly lame.
When sitting, my costume revealed my thighs,
which seemed to be a magnet for the guys.


My lover was among the gazing flock,
He leered at me with barely hidden lust.
His fairy had appeared.
The absence of a potion was not feared,
as his eyes roamed from ankles up to bust.
His codpiece was enlarged, and not with socks.
The elixir was visual nothing more.
Adventure comes to men when they explore.


I saw some girls were equally entranced
with fairy wings and panty showing skirt,
and thus I tweaked my plan
and this is how my fairy tale began.
I planned and schemed and still had time to flirt
and with each wink I found my plan enhanced.
With stealth each girl departed then came back
prepared to mount our fairy tale attack.


Each girl returned in fairy tale attire
and each in turn gave their farewell that night
then walked out to the sea.
We danced and splashed and shared a fine esprit
and spoke of fairy kings and mortal’s plight
and all the fantasy the men require.
My lover saw his fairies on the beach
but all of us were well beyond his reach.


When I got home light hues announced the dawn;
my drunken lover was unconscious yet.
He needed all his sleep.
As planned, his dreams were bothersome and deep.
He woke and pulled me close and said, “Annette,
It frightened me when last night you were gone.
It gave me pause and gave me cause to grieve.
I’ll not again go chasing make believe.”

© Lawrencealot – April 14, 2014
Visual Template

Streambed Quintet poetry form

This is a form invented by Lillibet Waters, aka Streambed on Allpoetry.

 It is Stanzaic, consisting of two or more quintets.
Each stanza is syllabic 7/4/5/3/5
Rhyme pattern: aabba

Example Poem

 Advice to a Freshman     (Streambed Quintet)

 If you come upon a maid
who’s unafraid
and has a yearning
for learning,
please don’t act too staid. 

If perfume arouses you,
and bodice view
portends a measure
of pleasure
it just could be true.


If she pulls you close to kiss
don’t be remiss,
she’s not awaiting
dull dating,
act, don’t reminisce.

© Lawrencealot – March 28, 2014

Visual Template

Amaranth poetry form

Amaranth is an invented verse form that was probably created as a teaching tool by Viola Gardner. It makes deliberate use of the 9 most common metric feet. Each line is one metric foot, the pattern changing from line to line. 
The Amaranth is:
  • 9 lines strophe. It is a stand alone poem.
  • metric, the 9 most common metric feet are used in sequence.
    L1 Spondee SS
    L2 Iamb uS
    L3 Pyrrhic uu
    L4 Dactyl Suu
    L5 Trochee Su
    L6 Amphimacer SuS
    L7 Choriamb SuuS
    L8 Anapest uuS
    L9 Amphibrach uSu
  • rhymed at the discretion of the poet, although the metric restrictions are probably enough to contend with in this verse form.On the Cross by Judi Van GorderBehold!
    I am
    guileless, bereft
    pleasing God
With sincere thanks to Judi Van Gorder  for the above from the wonderful PMO site.
My Example Poem
Psychiatry     (Amaranth)
are made
in the
shedding light,
clearing the way
for a true
© Lawrencealot – November 27, 2013
Visual Template

Abhanga Poetry Form

There are not many verse forms whose names begin with the letter A.  The abhanga is a Marathi form, Marathi being one of the major languages of India. It is the official language of Maharashtra, and is also spoken in several neighbouring states in the west of the country, including Goa and Karnataka. 
The form is simply described: four lines, with syllable counts of 6, 6, 6, 4, and lines 2 and 3 rhyming.
Thanks to Bob Newman for this wonderful resource.
Abhanga, “the completion” is a stanzaic form commonly used for devotional poetic composition although it has also been used for cynicism, satire and reflective moods. It was popular from the 13th thru 17th centuries Marathi Region of India and is described as complex and classic.
The Abhanga is:
  • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains (4 line stanzas).
  • syllabic, 6/6/6/4 syllables each
  • rhymed L2 and L3 rhyme. Often internal rhyme is employed. End rhyme scheme x a a x , x being unrhymed.
Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for this wonderful resource.
Rhyme pattern: xaax
Example Poem
Nurturer     (Abhanga)
When life it brought into
our world with woman’s pain
before the child’s refrain
sends it away
the nurturing begins
with boys and girls, and yes,
with men we must confess.
The woman builds.
When this small fact is found
to be untrue, then what?
Then you’ve defined a slut,
female, that’s all.
The care and love rendered
describe a woman’s ilk.
Their touch is soft as silk
but strong as glue.
As aging wrinkles up
my face, I’m satisfied
a woman’s by my side
and she has cared.
© Lawrencealot – November 26, 2013

Visual Template