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


  1. Wisdom (loosely based on Proverbs 8)

    She was before the depths, the clouds, the trees;
    Far above rubies,
    They that get her, get understanding,
    She speaks right things.
    She cries to the simple, puts forth her voice,
    Causing men to rejoice,
    Instruction is better than gold of choice.
    From the very beginning, she was His,
    Possessed by Him from everlasting; she is
    Far above rubies; she speaks right things, causing men to rejoice.

  2. I tried one with shorter lines this time. 😉

    Poetry is Music

    Poetry is a poet’s kiss;
    Poetry is
    A song of grief, a song of love,
    The music of
    Which is the words that take flight, part
    My heart;
    The words I set in verse, my art,
    My poet’s kiss, my sign of love,
    A gift sent down from God above;
    Poetry is the music of my heart.

  3. Walt, I’m with you all the way there.

    Double Ovillejo

    Ancient wisdom not forgotten
    for the living. Misbegotten
    makes mockery of sanity.
    retribution for vanity
    life, love divine.

    Insensate mockery of rapture
    keeps at bay unthinking capture.
    the time when loves have disappeared.:
    where day’s dreams are yet sequestered.
    Wine, night, sleep.

  4. This Cat! (Ovillejo)

    When a poem comes together, how exciting,
    when I’m writing.
    But she’s competing for my lap
    this cat.
    A poem, kind of hazy
    drives me crazy.
    Now, don’t think I’m lazy.
    It flits, almost appearing, but elusive like a ghost.
    Surely, no reason to boast.
    When I’m writing, this cat drives me crazy.

  5. Marie and De, thank-you for that reminder, He SEEKS us! Like a Shepherd seeks lost sheep He seeks, not only so He knows where we are; He seeks TO SAVE! Hallelujah. Can we dare to not trust such love? Sometimes the unknown threatens to steal my peace and when I read your poem Marie, and your foot-note I was reminded anew who watches over us!

    Beyond my faith or fear-filled eyes
    The unknown lies
    Its moments shaped like precious sands
    In loving hands
    Before they are released, the staff and rod
    Of Father God
    To test and try our grasp of dust
    To teach us how to hope and trust
    In One who holds our moments first
    The unknown lies in loving hands of Father God

    © Janet Martin

  6. Never heard of this form before. Love it

    Thirteen (Ovillejo)

    Sometimes, I have a hankering
    to be thirteen
    again, feeling the velvet dusk
    and throbbing with
    the sweet, intense sensation of
    life’s mysteries
    that sparkle in the evening air
    like glitter in a child’s snow globe
    set to tune of haunting flute, oh,
    To be thirteen and throbbing with life’s mysteries.

  7. …Only…? ~ Musings ~

    I will wonder who you are…Still…
    You will
    forever stay, though I must try…
    Be my
    inspiration then; let me choose,
    to follow with hope; to not lose
    the magic of your Presence
    as you dissolve to essence…
    Always, you will be my Muse.

  8. Let me try this again – correctly this time, I hope.


    Sometimes, I have a hanker keen.
    Oh, to be thirteen
    again, living inside dusk’s pith
    and vibrating with
    sensations -sweet, intense- that dare

    life’s craved mysteries fair
    that sparkle in the evening air
    like glitter tossed from childish hand
    to conceal secrets banned.

    Oh, to be thirteen and vibrating with life’s craved mysteries fair.

  9. “Perseverance”

    Upon the knee grandpa taught,
    Child, give not
    heed to craven men whose
    one excuse
    for failure is denial
    before trial,
    who give up every worthwhile
    struggle at first glance
    of one deceptive hindrance.
    Child, give not one excuse before trial.

  10. Full Disclosure

    It isn’t that I can’t trust
            you, just
    that even heaven up above
            never loved
    these dreams, so truth will fight
            me, right?
    Here in my arms wrapped tight,
    your heart concealed
    all is revealed:

                 You just never loved me right.

  11. Ovillejo–interesting form; tricky without being unscrupulous in design. I may have to investigate this one further. Thanks, Walt and Marie for introducing it to me. Here’s my try for today.


    From time’s massive camera
    Come ephemera;
    Photos shot in slow motion,
    Leaving emotion
    To run with tide’s lingering doubt,
    Creating devout
    Thoughts of time’s overall meaning
    Within life’s framework built of clocks,
    Daily acts made as building blocks
    For a Heaven’s mansion devout.

  12. Struck

    I laud the stars above
    and love
    to wish upon them, too.
    Won’t you
    come bid the hands of time
    be mine?
    Beneath this salted sky,
    it’s simpler than it seems;
    Every girl’s got her dreams.
    And, Love: won’t you be mine?

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  15. Once (an ovillejo)

    In summer, bands play when they could,
    where the towers stood.
    Some workers ate lunches they’d brought,
    some alone, in thought.
    Others feeling their energy drained
    longer than they should, but explained
    that they had waited long in line
    for the hot dog cart on Pine.

    Where the towers stood, some alone in thought, remained.

  16. Erin clued me in as to Rule #10’s message. Thank you, Erin. So, I went back in and corrected the line; hopefully this will suffice and tie everything together satisfactorily.


    From time’s massive camera
    Come ephemera;
    Photos shot in slow motion,
    Leaving emotion
    To run with tide’s lingering doubt,
    Creating devout
    Thoughts of time’s overall meaning
    Within life’s framework built of clocks,
    Daily acts made as building blocks
    Ephemera’s emotion creates devout..

  17. Confectionary Dreams

    During the night, a giant hand
    passed over the land
    gently tapping a sifter can,
    sprinkling began
    not water but powder falling
    a storm stalling
    but as the dawn begins crawling
    and as we rise out of our beds –
    candy coated trees greet our heads.
    Over the land sprinkling begins, a storm stalling.

  18. For those of you who participated in the 14 Words of Love project, this was a little bit of what happened today, giving those poems away during my errands. Not everyone I gave them to, of course, were strangers, but many were and were cautious, suspicious, willing, and then delighted. It was a kick to watch that happen.

    Poem Project

    In parking lots, on ‘blab of pave,’
    I gave
    small poems to no one I knew.
    A few
    looked at me as if I were strange;
    a change
    lit up their faces in exchange.
    They read words from a poet’s heart
    and smiled, struck by a cupid’s dart.
    I gave a few a change.

  19. Time Warps

    Our ambling walk down lonely lanes,
    our hope explains,
    means we are works in slow progress.
    We often guess—
    so much of what we dream or think
    changes when we blink:
    like faith’s mirages, life is pink
    then fading gray; time slips away
    unless we grasp it and obey.
    We often guess our hope, explain, change when we blink.

  20. Sentimental Valentine’s Day Poem

    Can’t give to you my heart.
    Spare part
    it’s not. I need it ‘cause
    it was
    and is an organ I
    could die
    without. I would comply
    but after lots of thought
    there’s just this card I bought.
    Aren’t I a thoughtful guy?


  21. I’m late! Sorry, been busy…

    Breaking News

    Suffice to say, to be brief, all in all:
    I recall:
    Once upon a time, long, long ago–
    You know?
    And a thousand other false almost-starts…
    We’re apart.
    Need I say more? I remember what you told me
    –So carefree!
    You had no idea how mangled and strangled I’d be
    Now–and your words, remembered, like a rock in my gut,
    Have spawn a thousand “I can’t”s and “Not now”s and “but”s.
    In a nutshell, how do I articulate a broken heart?

  22. One more for luck!

    History is bunkum

    Forget what they say about history.
    depends on who’s writing it.
    Exciting, it
    can be truthful or biased, lies
    or elliptical.
    Patriotism incompatible
    with reliable history:
    my truth, your truth, a mystery.
    History: exciting or elliptical?

  23. Little late to the dance – Blown away by everyone’s writings. Feel like a whittler at a sawmill.

    The following is for the love of my life. My wife’s name is “Shirley” which I considered using in place of “surely”. I often interplay her name that way.
    i.e. One of my favorites – “Shirley” goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6)

    Captured Heart

    By David De Jong
    February 16, 2013

    I saw your eyes of jasmine cream
    Silhouette of dream

    Cotton shorts, bronzed, summer’s July
    I can not lie

    You captured me with just one gaze
    Surely best my days

    I loved you then and will always
    Cherished memory where it stays

    A love come true so many ways
    Silhouette of dream, I can not lie, surely best my days

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