On my first essay into moveable type.

Clackety and clackety and pick–flick–click:

the music of the press and the composing stick.

Ink upon my fingers and I can’t quite spell –

with upper case and lower case and “Where’s the Ell?”

Calamity! – I’ve dropped ‘em, now they’re upside down –

are these twenty-six commandos or, like, fifteen clowns?


Finally! I’ve marshalled ‘em in one straight line,

like Wellington at Talavera: Just In Time;

Sling ‘em in the galley now to watch them row,

and take a beat to think it wasn’t always so –

cuz way before Columbus got his sails unfurled,

one Gutenberg delivered us a whole new world.



Composing Stick


Thanks to the John Jarrold Printing Museum in Norwich, and to Paul Welters.


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