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The Little Alphabet Book
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Matthew Paris

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Post Sun Jan 25, 2004 3:28 pm - The Little Alphabet Book
For Ryan White

If my name were Ryan White
If I were three months old but bright
I would learn to read and write
While other children fight and bite.

In looking at the gifts Iíd get
While I made my diapers wet
Youíd know what I would want, Iíll bet.
I would want the alphabet.

Iíd hope that some new friend or nurse
Or even stranger, foe or worse
Who with a diaper or a curse
Would bring me letters set in verse.

My name is hardly Ryan White
Iím sixty one; Iím not too bright
Still, Iíd rather read and write
When I go to bed at night.

When you make the letter A
It looks a little bit, Iíd say
Like a barn with piles of hay
Where donkeys eat; where you can play.

Some say that B when on its side
Are houses where two liars hide.
Oneís a liar; oneís a guide
Which of these two liars lied?

Cís a place to put things in
Prizes tiny as a pin
Prizes, small and very thin
You can lose them when you win.

D is sort of half an O.
O is twice a D. Dís grow
To be an O or more; you know
The growth of Dís is very slow.

Eís two shelves to put your toys.
Itís good for girls; not bad for boys.
With E no neighboring kid destroys
Your warlike toys with horrible noise.

F is E without a foot
Or half a tree without a root.
Iíve no idea where someone put
This root stuffed deep beneath the soot.

Gís a C where one can sit
On what is flat, where one can fit
Mutter bitter bits of wit
Write and wonder what youíve writ.

H has two big lines that go
To your skull and to your toe
Or a house whose roof can grow
Towers that can pierce the snow.

I is just a rope, a word
That youíve heard and heard and heard
Which I hope you have inferred
Sometimes seems a bit absurd.

J is like a fishing hook
With a curved and sharpened crook
It brings up sunfish from a brook;
It may catch you if you look.

K, well K is K, just K.
It isnít J; it isnít A.
What else can I really say?
Take your toys; go out and play.

Lís a childrenís easy chair.
Many kids will sit down there
With other monsters, strange and rare
A unicorn, a mouse, a bear.

Can you guess what M would be
If upside down? Right. You can see
Mís two lines, then a v;
itís ski lofts where two kids can ski.

When one N, not five or ten
Nís always N, not now and then.
N when upside down is N.
Donít ask me why or even when.

O is rounded more or less
Like an orange squashed, I guess.
But it you squash an O and press
Youíll press the O into a mess.

P stands upon a single line.
It thinks itís perfect and divine.
Itís sure the air is rare and fine
And sips its dandelion wine.

Q is always dogged by U
But U is not in love with Q.
This is what these letters do.
Iíve asked them why; they never knew.

Rís a P, with one detail
Unlike a P; it has a tail.
Curving like a little snail.
A Pís an R whose tailís in jail.

S, though curving like a snake
Whose rattles may make noise and shake
And keep a little kid awake
May be more than a kid can take.

T is like a wooden stool
Where schools once put a silly fool
Now most teachers think itís cruel
And fools get ice cream as a rule.

U is like a narrow hole
Where one finds a worm or mole.
Uís an endless toilet bowl
Where some people put their soul.

V is like a V but not.
Itís got things no V has got.
It is sharp; it may be hot
And other things, What? God knows what.

W is a double U
U is one; itís never two.
Itís not a slew of Us, not Q-
Maybe none of this is true.

X was once a fiery letter
Branded on a crook or debtor
Or was it A?. It doesn't matter.
Nowadays, we all know better.

Yís a path that goes two ways.
Both lead to many happy days.
A place were nothing evil stays
And all eat ice cream in the haze.

Zís an N but on its side
Zís an N thatís upped and died.
Of all the letters that have tried
Zís the last one certified.

We call this thing the alphabet.
Thatís all the letters you will get.
When merely A to Zís a bore
Weíll buy more at the letter store!
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