An OVILLEJO (the name comes from the Spanish, meaning “tight ball of yarn”) is a verse that consists of ten lines. There are no specific line lengths required, but the shorter lines (numbers 2, 4, and 6) are usually no more than five syllables long, and the other seven lines no more than eight syllables long. The rhyme scheme reveals the mystery of the form:

1. a, Longer line
2. A, Short line
3. b, Longer line
4. B, Short line
5. c, Longer line
6. C, Short line
7. c, Longer line
8. d, Longer line
9. d, Longer line
10. A+B+C  <— This line combines Lines 2, 4 and 6 to complete a thought.

Many Ovillejo devotees  suggest having the last line or phrase in mind before writing, to help set your theme. (But flying by the seat of your pants offers some interesting variations!)


PURSUED (an Ovillejo)

We need only listen as He speaks,
and seeks
to keep us from abysmal graves.
He saves
the weak offender from sin’s cost.
The lost
redeemed, forgiven, and embossed –
sanctified with His holy name –
this sinless One who shouldered all our shame.
He seeks and saves the lost.
(Thanks to DE MILLER JACKSON for reminding me that God pursues me.)
© Copyright Marie Elena Good – 2013


Nothing is as cheerful as
life is,
quite the grand brand of mirth,
well worth
it until we’re on the gurney.
The journey
keeps your heart in play; the tourney
of your lifetime is played to win and laugh.
So steer away from sins and gaffes,
life is well worth the journey.

© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013