As kids we loved old-fashioned vending machines that would drop a little plastic container holding a treasure — a ring, miniature toy, or candy — through the shoot when we put in a dime or a quarter. Lately, various iterations of poetry vending machines have been coming to our attention, perfect for our adult selves. Imagine putting 50 cents in the slot, turning the lever and receiving an uplifting hit of Mary Oliver*:
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
How cool to find poems in a repurposed cigarette or candy vending machine…
And as we thought how much we’d love to make our own poetry vending machine, we poked around a bit to discover it is not that hard. You can buy a Toy Capsule Vending Machine for as little as $120, less if you get a used one.
Then you buy empty Acorn Capsules …
…and fill them with poems you print out, fold and place inside…
A poetry vending machine would probably pay itself in no time, and perhaps make some money; It would certainly spread delight and good will…
Need poems? Just search our vast archive of poetry…
*”I Worried” from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
With thanks to Susan Dworski for alerting us to the poetry vending machine trend.