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The Poet's Paint Palette

Canadian Poet and educator, Carl Leggo wrote, 'writers write their worlds in words. With the resources of the alphabet we explore and express who we are in the world. The alphabet provides the building blocks for constructing knowledge of our identity.' Carl Leggo shared this idea for growing a deeper appreciation of poetry:

Carl Leggo reminds us that these 26 amazing letters hold infinite possibilities, infinite combinations. How magical is that? Sound, shape and power combine to create shades of meaning we can share with an audience of fellow readers and writers, the world over.  

*Write down the 26 letters of the alphabet
*Circle your five favourite letters
*Write five words that begin with your five favourite letters
*Use these words to reveal some poetry

There exists in these 5 listed words much in the way of music. Opportunities abound for alliteration and zany connections. There is an energy in the words as well. We can begin to look at the alphabet with renewed respect.The alphabet is the poet's paint palette. In place of paint poets use words to create images. 

Poems can be about anything and everything. The world is chocker-block with poetic possibility. We begin to discover poetry when we choose to engage with the world and with its glorious words. Poetry reveals itself where imagination, experience, understanding and emotion intersect, or sometimes even collide.

My five letters are: A, M, P, R and S 

My five words are:  adventures, meandering, perfection, rendezvous and sunset

Here is the poetry I found:

Adventure and discoveries
Await the curious child
Exploring the sweeping line of the beach

Meandering through the shallows
With seagulls for company

The breeze creates kiss curls on waves
Before they announce an inevitable rendezvous
with the shoreline

-A chorus of ripples and slaps 
The soundtrack of the sea on a loop
background the scene

Sunset draws a russet curtain across a beach day
A day- 
close to perfection.

Alan j Wright

I found this a most interesting challenge. A poetic puzzle to be solved. Constructing an invisible link between my five chosen words was like joining the dots. Writing is essentially problem solving. This was a challenge I therefore embraced.

So, I invite you to go for it. Find your five favourite letters and five wonderful words beginning with each of those letters and follow it to where your poetry bursts into life.


  1. I like the idea of the alphabet as building blocks. We take that for granted how it can be an instrument to fuel creativity as you have shown.

    I liked that this was both visual and aural. I like the line 'a chorus or ripple and slap.' It really stood out.

    1. I'm well pleased when a visitor finds something they can appreciate and maybe take away...

  2. I will definitely try it! And I will start with your big beautiful colorful letters. I think the colors will be part of my inspiration.

    1. I like your clear intent Liz. You have alerted me to the colour in the letters . I had been focusing on the letters themselves, so you have broadened my perspective. Fresh eyes always help to inform.

  3. Definitely on my list of things to try! Thanks for sharing the process. Now, about your poem-- I love it! And I must admit, I've had a life long love of the sea. Love the lines: "A chorus of ripples and slaps / The soundtrack of the sea on a loop." And I'll end this comment before I type the word "love" again.

    1. Thanks Alice. Always great to have your input. Glad you found something you can use, and so pleased you enjoyed my words about the sea. I am fortunate to live so close to the bay . It provides constant inspiration.

  4. Beautiful poem! Thanks for sharing the process behind it. When I stop to think about it, I am amazed at all we can do with just 26 letters arranged in infinite combintaions. This is a writing puzzle I'd like to try.

    1. Thanks so much Kay. Glad you liked my words. Like you, I'm amazed by what is achieved with these magical squiggles. I wish you every success with this poetry challenge. Have fun.


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