Upham's Corner Online

Acrostic Poem for Kristi

Posted: January 26, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

So you want to surprise someone special with a gift from yourself? A gift that shows thought and creativity?  How about writing an acrostic poem?  It's pretty easy and a lot of fun.  You'll feel good about the time you put in and oh, what a surprise! 

Acrostic poetry is familar to all of us but perhaps not under that name.  A poem that is structured to spell out a name or phrase by the first letters of (selected) lines is called "acrostic." 

What is an acrostic poem?  Why write poetry?  Quick steps.  Two examples:  Danny Rocks and Acrostic Poem for Kristi.

An acrostic poem is a highly stylized format which is easy to imitate and is often used as an introductory format for young children.

About.com
An acrostic poem is a cryptographic form in which the initial letter of each line spells out a word, often the subject of the poem or the name of the person to whom the poem is dedicated.
Dictionary.com
a series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc.
Wikipedia
An acrostic (Greek: ákros "top"; stíchos "verse") is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message.

Another use of the term is to create a mnemonic to help memorize a sequence such as naming the planets in our solar system in the correct order.

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos 

You want to surprise someone special with a gift from yourself.  You want that gift that to show thought and creativity.  Writing a note or a poem satisfies your need to be creative and the recipient's chance for surprise.  On top of that, it's easy and a lot of fun.  You'll both feel good when it's done. 

Hesitate and You're among the Lost and Found

"Forget it! I couldn't possibly write a poem, and even if I did, it wouldn't sound good, and I would feel really embarrassed."

What's the difference between a new scarf from Macy's and one crocheted by yourself? 
How about a handcarved walking stick? 
How about a couple lines - don't have to rhyme - that convey personal reflections and spell out a name?

There is almost no reward as great as seeing your creative efforts come to full fruition.  Okay, but what the fear of rejection? 

Remember the poem is your creative act.  It is you creating life.  It is also a chance to say to the other person:  "You are special" whether they "like" the poem or not.  Hunkering back to the days of raising kids, remember the "I love you" and the reply "I don't care."  What you say and how you say it will always be remembered.  So it is with your poetry.  Good, bad or otherwise, they will always remember.

Dipping briefly into the bucket of all things motivational:  "If never you try, don't cry over what might have been."

How to Write an Acrostic Poem

Actually, there are no "formulas" for writing poems or we could replace ourselves with robots.  However, the following steps are a way to get you started.  You'll be able to come up with your own approach in no time.

Step 1..  What is your goal?

If you decide to experiment with writing an acrostic poem, starting out, don't think "poetry."  Think gift, recipient and message, in that order. 
  • I am giving you a gift that says: "I love you."
  • I am sending you a message: "I am concerned."
  • I am so proud of your accomplishments.
  • Hey, Buddy, isn't life crazy?
Your goal is the expression in the context of a relationship.  The message probably needs to be important.  Saying "hello" is important but if it's "Can you get some milk on the way home?", you probably don't need to write a poem. 

If it's a special moment, and you want to underscore the importance of your relationship, creatively expressing yourself can help reinforce the bond between you.

Step 2.  Select the acrostic name or phrase

Keep it short or your poem will never end.  Select the person's name or a phrase consistent with the message. 
  • Danny is in trouble:  Friend, Danny
  • Danny gets a new job:  Danny Rocks
  • Danny went away:  Miss Ya, Danny

Step 3. Write the message


Next write your message but do not constrict it to fancy words, or couplets are consistent metering, and for heaven sakes, don't try to make it rhyme. Just let your heart, mind and soul flow with what you want to say.

Step 4.  Begin the creative process

Map the ideas, phrases and words from your message into the acrostic structure.  Focus on the message.  Let the letters of the acrostic phrase help focus your mind.  Once you get deep into the creative process, you will be surprised at the results.

Never question your abilities.  That only stops your creative capabilities cold.  Didn't like this poem?  Write another.  You'll get the hang of it.  One day, you will surprise your friends and that will be the day a new door opens.  You're on your way.

Step 5.  Rest & review

Take a break.  Let your mind rest.  Better still, sleep on it and come back again the next day.  You will be amazed at how the cobwebs, you never saw, have gone and left a fresh and clearer view of your work.  New words, new phrases and delightful thoughts will add polish and charm.

Example 1

Melissa, Danny's friend, wants to congratulate him on getting the job of his dreams.  She begins by writing him a note.
Danny, you are the greatest!  I am so proud of you. 

You worked very hard over the last couple of years improving your skills, taking courses, networking out to other people.  You knew what you were doing and you had faith that the right job would come along.  But it's not the job you got that pleases me.  It was the expression on your face, your smile, your excitement.  How wonderful it must feel to know you have realized your dreams. 

I wish you the greatest happiness on this next leg of your journey.

Your friend, Melissa

What more is needed?  This is a terrific note from Melissa to Danny.  It's enough.  But Melissa, a creative person, wants to do just a little bit more.  She wants to give Danny something that will help him remember the moment. 

Melissa has decided to use what she wrote to create an acrostic poem for her friend that spells out the phrase: "Danny rocks."   Here are some of her guidelines: 
  • Don't follow any rules of poetry - no meter, no rhymes
  • Find words that spell out "Danny Rocks
  • Make use of as much of the original message as possible
  • Try to keep each line short
  • Be willing to add new ideas where needed  
It took Melissa about a half hour to finish the poem and it looks like she accomplished her goals pretty well.  Afterwards, she decided to "sleep on it" - a terrific decision.  Her creative juices will continue to flow all night and in the morning?  Ya never know what might happen. 

How do you think Danny will react?  Big smiles and warm thoughts!

Danny Rocks


Danny, you are the greatest! 
I am so proud of you.
A
Anyone else might have quit but
You worked hard learning and
N
Networking with other people. 
You had goals.  You had faith.
N
Now the job you always wanted
Is yours and the world is at your feet.
Y
Yes, I feel your excitement.
Yes, I am very proud of you.


R
Realizing your dreams,
How great you must feel.
O
On your face, I saw
A smile like none other.
C
Can you believe it?  The next
Leg of your journey is starting.
K
Knowing you are happy
That's what pleases me. 
S
So I wish you smooth sailing,
Ya hear?  Your friend, Melissa.

Example 2 - An Acrostic Poem for Kristi

Goal:  Write an acrostic poem to Kristi.  The message?  There isn't one per se but the poem is intended to be happy, funny and playful.

Method: 
  1. Use a physical dictionary to find words
  2. Use a rhyming dictionary (online is ok) to find more words. 
  3. Use the format "A is for apple" to start the first line of each paragraph. 
  4. Rhyme each couplet.
  5. Find lots of interesting words that begin with the letter and meter them together to sound like a song.
This took about an hour to write.  Then more time for formatting with a graphic, printing, mailing - it was well worth it. 

View finished "work of art."

An Acrostic Poem for Kristi

K is for kittens kurled up in a ball
for mother's warm kisses wherever they fall
kingfishers, knots, knarled trees, the unknown
and praying the Kyrie eleison!

R
is for royal and rubrics divine
restfully rocking the baby ‘til nine
richly possessing the blessings of God
kissing ‘til midnight - now isn't that odd?

I
is for ice cream, icky and sweet
iron-fisted lady, idiom complete
intelligence, incense, itinerate, she
interesting instinct for knowing the key.

S
is for sweetness, strawberry parfait
silly and sultry, sweet-talking her way
seriously suffering and shrewdly beguiling
you'll never see other than Kristi be smiling.

T
is for truthful, talented, tempting
but not like our Eve and her tongue most exacting.
To two, too, move forward then stop before three
not ten times but tea times with triscuits and brie.

I
is for IV, islet, intestine
inroads, insomnia and stories clandestine.
With interest we crown thee "Queen for the Day."
May thy journey be joyful!  We love you!  Hooray!


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