A Villanelle for National poetry day

Ah, here is the poem thats causing the problem! Its by Guite of course!

It’s National Poetry Day here in the UK so I thought I’d post this villanelle up in honour of the day. I was once photocopying some poems for a talk when the whole machine ground to a halt, totally jammed. I pulled what poetry I could from its innards and rushed off to give my talk. when I came back the lady in charge of the machine pointed an accusing finger and said “Your poetry is jamming my machine!” I thought that was such a great line that I stole it and wrote her this poem to make ammends.

As always you can hear it by clicking the ‘play’ button, if it appears or else clicking the hyperlink in the poem’s inordinately long title. 🙂

On being told my poetry was found in a broken photocopier

My poetry is jamming your machine

It broke the photo-copier, I’m to blame,

With pictures copied from a world unseen.


My poem is in the works -I’m on the scene

We free my verse, and I confess my shame,

My poetry is jamming your machine.


Though you berate me with what might have been,

You stop to read the poem, just the same,

And pictures, copied from a world unseen,


Subvert the icons on your mental screen

And open windows with a whispered name;

My poetry is jamming your machine.


For chosen words can change the things they mean

And set the once-familiar world aflame

With pictures copied from a world unseen


The mental props give way, on which you lean

The world you see will never be the same,

My poetry is jamming your machine

With pictures copied from a world unseen


Filed under literature

11 responses to “A Villanelle for National poetry day

  1. While poetry pages may occasionally jam a machine, good poems like yours make the day flow better. I enjoyed it. I write some villanelles, too, and I’ve posted a couple on my blog:



  2. Mary Scott Sayre

    While you have such intricate poetry about Love or St. Francis that is to be treasured like a child treasures hot chocolate on a wintery day, this poem will always be my favorite juice box : ) so good . . .

  3. I love, too, how our living can get stuck in the animate living of machines. But, if we could wait, listen and read, even the ensuing paper jam could still lift us off the page. I’m thankful for your poems. I’m always stuck and listening for another jam.

  4. Pingback: An Attempt at Villanelle | All Nine

  5. Evangeline M. (Ruth) DeMaster

    I love this poem! We heard you give it out on Orcas Island several years ago.

  6. Gregory

    I just found this poem randomly, and it gave me chills. It helps me articulate why I love Emily Dickinson so much–her lines confuse and bewilder me in the most beautiful ways. Now I will call that getting my machine jammed. Thank you for this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.