The Machinist

Greg Fischer sent in this poem, which is about a Linotype operator, written from the point of view of a Linotype mechanic on a daily newspaper.

Over the idle Linotype
the Lino machinist stands.
Not a brain within his head
just large and horny hands.Read the rest

The Bragging ‘Stab-hand

From the late Dave Bowles’ collection of London Fleet Street compositors items comes this song. Sent in by his son John, the song refers to production of the Sunday Telegraph.

Sung to the tune of “I Did It My Way.”

Today – I did page three,
Page four and five – and then page seven;
And then – I did page two,
The close-up too, then page eleven;
The smalls and adverts too,
I’d pushed all through,
By four on Friday;
And so – I did them all,
And did it my way.
Read the rest

The Machine

A poem about the Linotype from the book “In the Beginning was The Word” by David Andrus.

Central S.S., Hamilton

The Linotype is just a machine
we are told
like any other machine.

But this is wrong-
at the age of 14 I am
captivated by this ungainly
word-making device,

seduced by its handles,
wheels, pulleys, gears, cams,
fingers, arms and jaws,
its thousand mysteries of
brass and steel.… Read the rest

It Was One of Those Days

A poem about the Linotype from the book “In the Beginning was The Word” by David Andrus.

It was one of those days
the machine began to act up,
th troubl somwhr in
th distributor mchanism,
nd I only begn to notice it
when my proofs cme bck
nd the proofreder’s red ink
ran frm my type like blod
frm a slaughtered pg,
lke paint frm Van Ggh’s
Hed of A Womn,
and the sharp, terrile lines
wounded me at my machin,
so that siting a the keord
I flt like
a World War II fighter plot
going down with hi craft,
in front f me th burning lead
scummd ovr with dust nd
dross, al of it trembling
bcuse of a slightly-loos
driv blt, and th day
ending badly when the elevatr
jammed and a spurt f lead
ejaculated int the air and
came down on my head lik
hot hot rain,
nd now as I get oldr
and baldr, the smll burn scars
becme mor and mor visible,
remindng me of tht day
th machine began to act up
and finlly hurt me
hurt m bdly

©2001 David Andrus

Did you enjoy this poem?Read the rest

The Linecaster

A new poem written and sent in by Mike Wilson of Bridlington in the UK.

In far-off days,
when Macintosh deterred the rain,
and hot metal reigned supreme,
there dwelt abroad,
in solitary splendour or ranked and rowed:
the linecaster.

Sired by Heath Robinson
out of necessity’s invention,
this mechanism of complications
stands proud in print shops throughout the land.Read the rest