Enjambment Poetic Device Explained with Examples

Enjambment is a poetic technique in which a sentence or phrase is continued over multiple lines of poetry, without a pause or break at the end of each line. In other words, enjambment occurs when the sense of a sentence or clause runs over the end of a line and into the next, without any punctuation or pause to indicate the end of the line.

Enjambment is often used to create a sense of flow and continuity in a poem, and to emphasize certain words or ideas. It can also create tension or surprise by delaying the resolution of a phrase or sentence until the next line.

How to Identify Enjambment

  • Look for the end of a line of poetry. If a sentence or phrase ends at the end of a line and the thought or meaning continues onto the next line, this may be an example of enjambment.
  • Look for the absence of punctuation. If there is no punctuation mark at the end of a line of poetry and the sentence or phrase continues onto the next line, this is likely an example of enjambment.
  • Read the lines of poetry aloud. If you find yourself reading the lines without pausing or stopping at the end of a line, this is a good indication that the lines are enjambed.

Here’s an example of enjambment in the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;”

In this poem, the sentence “That floats on high o’er vales and hills” continues onto the next line without a pause or punctuation, making it an example of enjambment. “That floats on high o’er vales and hills” runs over the end of the first line and into the second, creating a sense of movement and continuity that reinforces the image of the cloud floating through the landscape.

Examples of Enjambment: 

Poem ‘Tree’: It is a good example of enjambment

The trees inside are moving out into the forest,

the forest that was empty all these days

where no bird could sit

no insect hide

no sun bury its feet in shadow

the forest that was empty all these nights

will be full of trees by morning.

All night the roots work

to disengage themselves from the cracks

in the veranda floor.

The leaves strain toward the glass

small twigs stiff with exertion

long-cramped boughs shuffling under the roof

like newly discharged patients

half-dazed, moving

to the clinic doors.

I sit inside, doors open to the veranda

writing long letters

in which I scarcely mention the departure

of the forest from the house.

The night is fresh, the whole moon shines

in a sky still open

the smell of leaves and lichen

still reaches like a voice into the rooms.

My head is full of whispers

which tomorrow will be silent.

Listen. The glass is breaking.

The trees are stumbling forward

into the night. Winds rush to meet them.

The moon is broken like a mirror,

its pieces flash now in the crown

of the tallest oak.

Few more examples

“Daffodils” by William Wordsworth

“For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;”

“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams

“So much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


Few more examples

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I know the voices dying with a dying fall

Beneath the music from a farther room.” 

– T.S. Eliot

“She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes” 

– Lord Byron

Enjambment is a literary device in which a sentence or phrase continues from one line of poetry to the next without a pause or punctuation mark. Here are some tips to help you identify enjambment in a poem:

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