Palindrome (poetry)

  • In poetry, a palindrome (from the Greek palindromos, meaning running back again) is a poem, line, or sentence that reads the same both forward and backward, either letter by letter or word by word.

    One early example, attributed to Gregory of Nazianuzus (329–389 A.D.), is in Latin:

    nipson anomemata me monan opsin

    This translates to,

    Wash my transgressions, not only my face.

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    There are also some well-known examples in English, such as these two attributed to Napoleon:

    Madam, I’m Adam.

    Able was I ere I saw Elba.

    In Latin, reciprocus versus refers to a line that scans the same both forward and backward, such as this one by Hart Crane:

    Twilight, stiller than shadows, fall.


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