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    2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

    Categories: 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, Poetry Prompts, Poets, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

    Today’s prompt is from Carol Stephen, and it’s a doozy.

    Here’s Carol’s prompt: Write a glosa. This involves an epigram of 4 consecutive lines from a favorite poet that the challenge participant believes they can write successfully to. Then, write a poem consisting of four 10-line stanzas where the final line of each stanza is a line from the epigram, in order. Within each stanza, lines 6, 9 and 10 must rhyme.

    Robert’s attempt at a Glosa Poem:


    “The time has come to reconsider my careen;

    what good has come from bouncing away fast?
    They say time is a thing that runs out,
    that my buzz is nothing more than a flash.”

    -Nate Pritts, “The Fastest Man Alive”

    In the beginning, there was a problem waiting
    to be recognized. Then, how to form
    the question, how to prove the problem
    exists. Each word another puzzle piece
    closer to expressing what everyone feels
    even if nobody is certain what it means.
    After the expression, there is the problem
    of considering an array of solutions before
    choosing the one that seems the most pristine.
    The time has come to reconsider my careen,

    my slow departure from what once made sense
    into this new hypothesis, this fresh
    perspective. Hand clap, toe tap, and what
    data will best prove my empty case. I chase
    the correlation fantastic! And pray for causation
    ecstatic! My proof-worthy theory is cast
    into the sea of observation and experimentation
    as I fight the allure of pushing conclusions
    before proving the power of every blast.
    What good has come from bouncing away fast?

    The holes left behind throw all work into doubt,
    which is why I hold out. And then it happens,
    the lightning bolt and chemicals with only me
    present to receive them. How do I explain
    what no one else can see? How do I refute
    what I feel should be accepted without doubt?
    Is someone ready to observe my future?
    My past? I won’t fade quietly into the night,
    I won’t race from school like some dumb trout.
    They say time is a thing that runs out,

    but what happens when one can travel here
    and there? My heart, a drum machine, beats
    past infinite Earths. I give birth to a new
    type of method, one hidden in the covers
    of a silver age. My hypothesis, a twist
    on yet another death, some spectacular crash!
    I will save the planet and the universe,
    if it comes to that, but don’t stand there
    and try to explain that all science is trash,
    that my buzz is nothing more than a flash.


    Thank you, Carol, for the challenging prompt! Click here to learn more about Carol.

    Click here to share your glosa on the WD Forum, if that’s your preference.


    Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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    About Robert Lee Brewer

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    83 Responses to 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

    1. ceeess says:

      I just came back again to see what I had missed. Sorry for being so late to it! I am impressed by all the great glosas here! I hope some of you liked the form enough to keep it in your repertoire! I’ve just ordered a book called Holograms, by noted late Canadian poet, P.K. Page. It is ALL glosas.

      I am intrigued by the form and want to write more of these myself. And yes, it is certainly challenging. Most of my poems weigh in under 30 lines and not in form or using constraints. So it was a challenge for me too!

      Carol A. Stephen

    2. Day 18
      Prompt: Write a glosa–using epigram of 4 consecutive lines from a favorite poet, with 4 10-line stanzas, where the final line of each is from the epigram, in order. Within each stanza, lines 6, 9, and 10 must rhyme.)

      From E.E. Cummings’ Adult Nursery Rhymes #3, final lines:
      deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
      –time is a tree (this life one leaf)
      but love is the sky and i am for you
      just so long and long enough

      i dreamed the days away
      thinking i knew i wanted what
      i didn’t know i did
      your particular face never an option
      a list that might not include
      someone exactly you
      yet steps led me your way
      to treasure the day
      we met and the day we knew
      deeds cannot dream what dreams can do

      my conflicted self of engagement broken
      ring returned to another man
      time past another era another beau
      stomach whirling like leaves caught in wind
      couldn’t live with you or without
      pushing you away caused pain and relief
      time and prescription healed ambivalence
      fear of my leaving you or you me
      then revealed to me to be without you equalled grief
      –time is a tree (this life one leaf)

      summers winters springs falls thirty-three
      since vows we made sacred sweet
      pungent plunge into commit
      perilous waters of parenthood
      survival of family feuds (not between you and me)
      eye of God and sky watching over me and you
      blanket protective of all we hold dear
      though infinite and blue bright
      sky appears taut stretched over us two
      but love is the sky and I am for you

      how long we have to live and love we do
      not know but we know our love stays
      till death parts us
      we won’t part ways because
      that is what it means to commit
      our love is tough
      time-in-bottle treasure
      what life is made of
      God gives us the stuff
      just so long and long enough

    3. Glory says:

      Epigram -
      Sir, I admit your general rule,
      That every poet is a fool,
      But you yourself may serve to show it,
      That every fool is not a poet

      (Day 18)

      It appears that people often call
      a simple man another fool
      who plays with words
      throughout the days
      until the evening sun no longer stays,
      then plays some more until
      he’s found a rhyme or maybe
      reason to tell the world what
      all believe is cool,
      Sir, I admit your general rule.

      I don’t believe it to be so
      for blessed with reason, I do know
      that rhyming words
      can often be a man’s salvation,
      bringing liberty, freedom
      for those who do not fuel
      the harm within a gentle verse,
      do not seek to speak, be cruel,
      be spiteful, voice those words,
      That every poet is a fool.

      Do you not sometimes play with words
      striving hard to make them rhyme,
      words that dance within your head
      until wrote down before it’s time
      for bed, and with sleep comes dreams
      wherein you repeat with increasing whit
      the one you seek but cannot find, until it
      seems that every day is full of
      words that jump and stray, and split,
      But you yourself may serve to show it,

      Oh listen, I will tell you this
      a poem is like a gentle kiss,
      light as thistledown yet with words
      one simply can’t forget, so try,
      try and try again keep trying
      with all your mind, do not flit
      until you find those certain words
      to write your poem, maybe then you will
      admit, for truthfully, although you know it,
      That every fool is not a poet.

    4. Yolee says:

      Happiness by Jane Kenyon
      There’s just no accounting for happiness,
      or the way it turns up like a prodigal
      who comes back to the dust at your feet
      having squandered a fortune far away.


      Saw you and switched rooms to where critical
      thoughts are stored. Had to observe from
      a stark window once stained with colored
      glass and frilly treatments. Had to take you in
      with only the tint of my eyes and translucent
      mind. Like the caterpillar’s enclosed business,
      faith tapped on the case little by little. Light
      filtered in; beauty with wings unfurled.
      In the unpredictable breath of hopefulness,
      there’s just no accounting for happiness.

      Your first two words revealed left feet.
      The conversation buckled, even so, trinkets
      from the heart spilled. The dread of rejection
      was tall but stumbling away from the dance
      would be Goliath. We became birds of paradise.
      The atmosphere developed a case of tropical
      rash. Notions had to mate. Contentment
      rose up from among thorns. There is no
      fugitive like barefooted love in the paradoxical,
      or the way it turns up like a prodigal.

      And so we sliced the moon, buttered
      it with the sun, fed it to our dreams.
      The horizon smiled when we whisked
      by. We devoured manna, until praise
      waned and complaints dulled our
      carriage. We eschewed tasty sweets
      once reserved for each other. But history
      turned around and tapped our languor,
      like the dancer on a sun-dressed street
      who comes back to the dust at your feet.

      I still watch you from a remote room
      where pictures of us emerge in all ranks
      of natural light. There’s a chair. Only you
      make it rock. A crow’s nest sits high and
      stable like the memory when serendipitously
      you appeared to me on that blessed day.
      Devotion changed the forecast within
      and conserved the cerulean sky. Long ago
      I pictured love roaming without a place to stay,
      having squandered a fortune far away.

    5. foodpoet says:

      okay thought I posted this wonder what day I posted it to?

      November 18

      Gregory Orr

      Listening to Bach’s solo suites
      For cello, you know
      He’s found the poem
      But not the words

      In music night
      Echoes of the solo day
      Finds its way into my pages.
      Each crystal thought
      Falls down into ink
      And still the note beats
      Free from stringed time
      To fringe my down time
      Into dreams streets
      Listening to Bach’s solo suites.

      Listening to Bach’s solo suites
      I watch the passing moon
      Flash the rising stars.
      As Jupiter ascends
      And Venus sinks
      Night winds blow
      I hear leaves
      Scuttle away
      And my down times ebbs and flows
      For the cello you know

      Is the dark cousin
      Of light violin
      Summer strings and sangria
      Afternoons when memories
      Were sharp bright and soft
      Now sunken under dreams ocean
      Waves tumbling fragments
      Frayed threads
      Unable to be woven
      Find the poem

      In the rubble
      As the waters ebb
      Search the shore
      Sift the sand
      Look through clouded glass
      While the birds
      Song is silent
      And the night air calm
      And time silent shorn to thirds
      I am muted but for the words.

    6. Finally getting back to this one. Love the prompt, Carol!

      From “Days” by Philip Larkin
      Ah, solving that question
      Brings the priest and the doctor
      In their long coats
      Running over the fields.

      The shepherds on the trolley

      A girl gave birth in Goshen
      on the trolley yesterday
      right outside the courthouse.
      She said nothing like this
      had ever happened to her before.
      and to be fair, it was unusual
      for all the other passengers as well.
      But why on earth was she giving birth alone
      in front of that grand governmental bastion?
      Ah, solving that question

      could drag a friendly conversation
      into politics or sociology
      all of the dark arts broken free from
      anchors in reality. She must have been
      on drugs or didn’t use protection.
      We raise the dreaded specter
      of the welfare state to put her in her place.
      But really any proper telling of this holy story
      Of the bus-born child and the girl who rocked her
      Brings the priest and the doctor

      long before the yard signs and the
      focus groups. For here’s the miracle:
      we have a child not left behind.
      A host of ordinary saints embrace
      with great compassion the miracle
      before their eyes, this fellow-traveler who dotes
      upon her newborn, nestled in a crèche
      between the seats. These put to shame
      the glad-handing talking heads still chasing votes
      in their long coats

      with talk of census numbers, tax adjustments,
      of sacrifice for everyone except themselves.
      Ask the children now, and the neighbors,
      with their noses pressed against
      the glass – ask them if it matters
      even slightly if some
      stuffed up suit wields
      the sword of morality. They’ll tell you:
      every life is sacred, every fresh beginning,
      every wave of hope a baby’s first cry yields
      running over the fields.

    7. julie e. says:

      HAH!! i think i nailed it.
      i let myself get caught up in not feeling on a par with all of you who actually know poetry/forms/poets. So after i tried to find something by someone like Plath or Poe or Whitman, i went with what i know, a favorite from childhood, A.A. Milne’s “Halfway Down.”

      (or, The Devolving of a Mood.)

      “I’m not at the bottom,
      I’m not at the top;
      So this is the stair
      Where I always stop.”

      Moods are funny things
      affected by so much
      but health and wealth and diamond rings
      don’t even always touch
      your inner Pollyanna (as
      I know I’m seen by some)
      for even when my mood declines
      I try to think of happy times,
      so as most moods come,
      I’m not at the bottom.

      Moods are funny things
      affected oft by little
      “My tea is cold” “my socks don’t match”
      I couldn’t give a fiddle.
      But when it comes to cleaning
      I’m not the housework cop,
      but there’s dust on the railing
      and I’m very nearly paling
      As my good moods stop,
      I’m not at the top.

      Moods are funny things
      affected by minute
      beings doings happenings
      of children being “cute”
      and whether they’re intentional
      or merely unaware
      I’ve got to put a stop to it,
      the time-out step, you little sh**!
      now place your bottom there–
      so THIS is the stair!

      Moods are funny things
      affected by vermouth
      it really helped the other day
      when I lost my tooth.
      But the children, they were screaming
      so before their heads I’d lop
      I had to put a stop to it
      or else I’d be a wasted git.
      Before my mistakes plentiful
      yield a bumper crop
      ‘s where I (mostly) always stop.

    8. PKP says:

      Of course after trying to post other ‘catch up” poems from this week’s challenge over and over and over again and giving up – this poem posts on the first time without the introduction. Murphy’s Law lives!

    9. PKP says:

      I see about me the fields and cities the
      desolation, destruction and dancing
      of this whirling cerulean marble we share
      oceans, lakes, mountains and deserts
      forests and plains winding merging
      each and all connected as a threaded Oneself *
      shimmering in a sparkling panoply of vibrancy
      each texture, taste, sight and lyric sound
      connecting each to each within a collective sunself
      I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself

      I feel about me the pain and joy the anguish and
      pleasure of each, from newborn
      blinking eye to shuttered lash of ended time
      blazing, blurring, blotting, bleeding, bolstering
      this cerulean marble we share
      the essence floating of all exhaled exhume
      pulses within each corpuscle pounding
      particles of light within the ray of my being
      illuminate all, beyond imagined flash of sonic blasted boom
      and what I assume, you shall assume

      I taste and hear and touch
      each blade of grass, each droplet of the diamond
      rain, burn the bottom of my feet on the scorching sand
      freeze my skin in the avalanche of ice
      burst eardrums to the screams of hungry children
      sleep lulled by the sweet song of mothers’ succulent love
      the sweet nectar of honey glosses my lips
      as bitter herbs rest in the cradle of my gut
      each to each and all to all converge in one unfathomed melodious hue
      for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you

      For self in the collective tapestry
      is lone, but a dull thread
      dangling in the stratosphere
      a filamented figment of what could be, dropped as a stitch
      in the grand design of each shout, scream, sigh, touch, taste,
      and emerald blade of dew wet grass rising from earth damped hole
      desolate, striving, wretched until recognition relaxes melting
      self into reconciled, reverenced, reconnoitered remembered role
      I loafe and invite my soul

      • PKP says:

        “Song of Myself”
        Walt Whitman

        I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
        And what I assume you shall assume,
        For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

        I loafe and invite my soul

    10. JRSimmang says:

      “‘Out with the torches, they have flared too long,
      And bid the harpers go.
      Wind and warfare have but one song–
      ‘Woe to the weaker — woe!’”
      - Rudyard Kipling

      He’s a warrior first,
      his blade a white burst,
      standing on the burial ground.
      His helmet sits heavy,
      his soul has been levied,
      and now he stands heaven bound.
      His heart, a beat away from blackness;
      his mind, a thought away from madness;
      his breath, his body shall be remembered in song.
      “Out with the torches, they have flared too long.”

      When he falls to the bells
      he knows it’s his knell,
      Hell, he thinks, must be better than this.
      He’s now an orphan soul,
      who’s life fits in a bowl,
      Truly, ignorance must be better than bliss.
      And now he feels his knees weaken,
      all the while his horizons bleaken.
      He has no strength left to show,
      “And bid the harpers go.”

      When he wakes, he wakes in dark.
      Death has left its mark
      planted firmly on his pallid cheek.
      His eyes are glass,
      his soul shall pass,
      to the land where no one speaks.
      As he stares, blank faced, at the skies aloft
      she comes in a cloak, her skin so soft.
      She picks him up in her arms so strong,
      “Wind and warfare have but one song-”

      Which she sang to him there,
      on the battlefield bare,
      while his brothers in arms bled red.
      She carried him there,
      to the Pearlescent Where,
      where his soul now may make its bed.
      He longs for sleep, glorious sleep,
      when his eyes no longer weep,
      on the pillow under his mighty brow,
      “Woe to the weak- woe.”

    11. po says:

      Only When

      “it is like a silk fan beginning to open
      and howling after midnight has passed
      when that one is almost closed,
      another fan is opening far to the east”

      from “Thinking of Tu Fu on a Summer Evening”
      by Tom Sexton

      Each night
      is a promise
      of daylight.
      When closed
      a fan is a promise
      of a soft breezed unspoken
      in the noonday sun.
      What opens
      in the morning is broken
      “it is like a silk fan beginning to open”

      upon the folds of an ocean.
      Closure, and then rest.
      Not summoned
      east or west
      but north to south
      flocks of robins have massed
      to seek a warmer moment
      where even tears disappear
      as sentiments are gassed.
      “And how long after midnight has passed”

      will you hear that silent gasp?
      Tu Fu brings his bamboo
      brush to ink a line or two.
      You only see his shadow
      behind a silver moon.
      Fishermen rowed
      behind that silver disc.
      The wink is not yet open.
      The night is only wooed
      “when that one is almost closed.”

      Fans become abundant
      in the summer skies.
      Never leave
      but with wickersham
      and nieces
      through the fog.
      Only when the rose finds her creases
      “another fan is opening far to the east.”

    12. Rorybore says:

      WOW. I am truly amazed at all the ones posted.

      as for me: Imma gonna have to get back to ya on this one. :)

    13. po says:


      “Where the mist was burning off
      one red, three yellow, and several
      white trillium were observed
      at the edge of a stand of ancient pines”

      from “Arnprior, Ontario”
      by Tom Sexton

      Each year
      the loom of spring
      weaves wildflowers
      through woodlands
      and fields.
      There are soft
      lady’s slippers
      dancing in light.
      Merry daisies would only flock
      “where the mist was burning off.”

      Primroses nod approval
      when duckling swim
      in line behind
      their mother.
      A billion blossoms
      swaying in spring ephemeral.
      We reconcile our
      souls to wildflowers
      to hold us temporal.
      “One red, three yellow, and several”

      wildflowers stand apart.
      Wait for final passage
      as spring departs.
      Each blossom sighs,
      reaches for the earth.
      They reserved
      the right to bloom
      where planted
      on earth and be conserved
      “where white trillium were observed”

      at the root of every hill.
      A long nod
      to each petal
      a sign
      of life
      as the moon blinds
      the far night
      as it reaches for tomorrow
      and acknowledges each sign
      “at the edge of a stand of ancient pines.”

    14. Miss R. says:

      “Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
      Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

      Continuous as the stars that shine
      And twinkle on the milky way,”

      - William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

      Tears in the Wild

      The dullness of the city sky
      Is drab enough to make me cry.
      The endless stretch of pavement hums
      With mechanic, buzzing tones -
      On and on and on it drones -
      Like so many corporate bees.
      I wish with all I have within
      To leave behind the grinding din
      And take some gentle, quiet ease
      Beside the lake, beneath the trees.

      When I think of the countryside,
      I have sometimes stopped and cried
      Because my longing is so great
      To leave the busy place I hate
      And cease to care if I am late.
      My longing brings me to my knees
      In silent, mournful prayer of heart
      That soon enough my days will start
      With wildflowers, by degrees,
      Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

      When I arrive out in the wild,
      Tears form as though I were a child.
      The sky, it seems, is infinite,
      A tapestry of clouds well knit
      Against the blue that will not quit.
      I see the sky and I feel fine,
      Because it stretches without end
      And smiles like a gentle friend
      Who, I know, is always mine,
      Continuous as the stars that shine.

      As evening falls over the hills,
      I take out parchment, ink, and quills
      To write my tears in poetry,
      Loosing all the pain in me
      And setting all my bound joy free.
      I know that I will miss this day
      As time ticks on with steady pace,
      But its memories will grace
      The stars that shine in twilight’s gray
      And twinkle on the milky way.

    15. Domino says:

      From Woman Work
      by Maya Angelou

      Sun, rain, curving sky
      Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
      Star shine, moon glow
      You’re all that I can call my own.

      I want to run and just pretend
      that I have suddenly become a child
      again. I want to carelessly leave my
      belongings scattered, and never turn off
      a light. I want to stay out playing ‘til
      dark, and pretend I cannot hear you cry
      my name into the dew speckled darkness,
      until I am too tired to play tag,
      and, guilty, finally, tell my friends goodbye.
      My day complete with sun, rain, curving sky.

      I want to live that carefree life once more
      To have my mother or father tuck me
      safely into bed, checking carefully
      for monsters underneath the springs or in
      the closet, tinkling the hangars with
      their frightful claws or teeth of sharpened bone.
      I want the whole scenario, complete
      with bedtime story and glass of water
      and on to dreams of Neverland and mer-
      maids, lost boys, mountain, oceans, leaf and stone

      And then I want to waken when I want
      with no alarms or overly-cheerful
      morning show on the local radio
      station. I want to wake when I am no
      longer sleepy, to stretch, luxuriate.
      To hop up out of bed as spry as though
      I really were a child again, no aches
      or stiffness. And to breakfast where I eat
      a meal like a Norman Rockwell tableau,
      and our faces beam like star shine, moon glow

      I want to be that child again, if just
      to more completely recall how it was,
      to see my folks as their younger, joyful
      selves, before the pain and anger and loss,
      before the agony of the divorce,
      before the love that we had known was flown.
      Regret and loss aren’t all I have left,
      You, memories, I have a few of you.
      You, lost memories are what I bemoan
      Yet you’re all that I can call my own.

      Diana Terrill Clark

    16. DanielAri says:

      Tall order for a quiet sunday :)
      uneven steven–I’m also on the Hirshfield train!


      “But today, cut deep in last plums, in yellow pears,
      in second flush of roses, in the warmth of an hour, now late,
      as drunk on heat as the girl who long ago vanished into green trees,
      fold that loneliness, one moment, two, love, back into your arms.”
      —Jane Hirshfield, from “A Sweetening All Around Me As It Falls”

      Summer’s pistil stops the clock and starts time running
      and dancing May to September in a stun of bee-bring.
      Through upside-down summer we buzz bay to Brooklyn,
      pale-pink shore blooms to the red breast feathers
      of that rare American bird that nests under the waterfall.
      I can’t recall, between the pies, if there were cares.
      We tanned by accident, got lean and innocently vain,
      and fell asleep by falling into stars between branches.
      One day we denied the cooler air; now there’s
      but today, cut deep in last plums, in yellow pears.

      I peeled a mottled, spuddy apple and sucked
      starchy sugar, sharing it with Baby Finnegan.
      He threatened, with a smile, every precious thing
      while I danced the corner-sweep and the tidy-up.
      The sun, gold tooth of vagabond October, bit my work
      raking up the alder leaves and re-sealing the gate.
      We fell back to opening and closing, back to
      our reckoning habits. And this sudden seary glow
      is a sideways grin at a sarcastic apple’s feint,
      in second flush of roses, in the warmth of an hour, now late.

      When I was born, the farmers checked the tar paper,
      and the retailers made final welcoming adjustments
      and rubbed their hands together. When I count my years now
      I feel as though something “out there” is grateful for me,
      in the way a tree might throw a pageant for its roots
      and leaves. I bow my head like an over-ripening strawberry
      and the words in me attempt to make an echo.
      We named our seasons as though they were discreet states,
      yet harvest time flirts with travel, departing breeze by breeze
      as drunk on heat as the girl who long ago vanished into green trees.

      And spring breaks like baby teeth, the innate continuum
      that one morning wakes you with: “Hey! Orange!”
      Time stops as usual—but my favorite part always in jazz
      is just after the solo ends. The soul’s siphoning tide
      sucks in the resolve and the new stillness in the trembling reed.
      It’s one of the heart’s greatest recurring charms,
      how it continues to grasp after the vanishing forms,
      breaking itself like a finger sprout emerging from a seed shell.
      The phase change, last autumnal farewell, all without fire alarms—
      fold that loneliness, one moment, two, love, back into your arms.

    17. Poetic Asides November Challenge – Day 18
      Write a Glosa – epigram of consecutive lines from a favorite poet
      that the challenge participant believes they can write successfully to.
      Write a poem of 4 ten-line stanzas where the final line of each is a line
      from the epigram, in the same order. For each stanza, lines 6,9, and 10 must rhyme.

      On Aging

      “When you see me sitting quietly
      Like a sack left on a shelf
      Don’t think I need your chattering
      I’m listening to myself.”
      Maya Angelou

      Old does not mean I’m lonely
      or sad. Think of all
      those memories I have
      to call up–good and bad–
      with free time on my hands
      and bluesy music playing lightly
      as a scenic background,
      helping make vivid old friends.
      so, please, pass by silently
      when you see me sitting quietly.

      Years pass by quickly, well
      of course, I no longer look bright-
      eyed; I have had cataracts,
      or thick-haired; strands have thinned.
      Perhaps my hair is silver,
      you thinking gold is wealth,
      but inside I’m still twenty,
      if I do not regard my image
      in a mirror. One never sees one’s self
      like a sack left on a shelf.

      Still a woman, hangin’ in there,
      old enough to have no woes
      over what others think I should
      or should not be doing,
      what to say or how to say it,
      `cause I know I am top-shelf.
      I like my age, wouldn’t want
      to trade places with a young girl.
      Don’t worry if you see a grinning old elf,
      I’m listening to myself.

    18. jared davidavich says:

      ‘Clothed in sunlight
      restless in wanting
      dying of fear

      Changed shapes of an empire’

      from “Lamerica” by Jim Morrison

      Before it is Too Late

      Rest your weary arm,
      the machine will wait awhile;
      think past yourself,
      to your children,
      and the way you leave them.
      Indulge not in worldly delight,
      but lay your soul bare
      to reason, exposed to doubt,
      free from the night,
      clothed in sunlight

      See the world
      through youthful eyes,
      with hope and wonder,
      where choice still exists.
      Open the door for better-
      leave them with something
      more than your sentence;
      a slave to desire,
      forever hunting,
      restless in wanting

      Your weathered body,
      your tortured mind,
      are relics of a society
      determined by this moment.
      Prepare for their future,
      for their future is near;
      do not condemn them
      to your life
      living without cheer,
      dying of fear

      Give them wisdom
      of your mistakes.
      Whether they take it
      is not your concern,
      only that your faults
      survive to inspire
      a new generation
      evaluating how you
      chased shades of desire,
      changed shapes of an empire

    19. I have been eating poetry.

      The librarian does not believe what she sees.
      Her eyes are sad
      and she walks with her hands in her dress.

      Eating Poetry
      by Mark Strand

      A starving artist,
      once young and thinner;
      I devour books for dinner.
      In the food arena,
      No one beats me;
      I no longer fit in my dungarees.
      I am a tad overweight.
      Must be all the books I ate.
      No one knows; it’s a mystery…
      I have been eating poetry.

      The staff is at a loss:
      Dickinson, Hughes, Robert Frost.
      One by one, the books disappear.
      What is going on in here?
      Call the police, the board of trustees,
      someone with book expertise.
      Such is the anguish! Such is the grief!
      They must catch the thief!
      When all of a sudden, quite ill at ease,
      the librarian does not believe what she sees.

      Me in the corner by the vending machine
      doing away with Shel Silverstein.
      She must tell the others but she’s in a shock.
      She attempts the words but she simply can’t talk.
      She starts to approach me, she looks pretty mad.
      Her sudden demeanor reminds me of my dad.
      Why do you eat books? – she asks me quite serious
      trying to hide the fact that she’s furious.
      I look up from my dinner feeling quite bad…
      her eyes are sad.

      I go on to explain that I’m not malicious.
      I can’t help myself; these poems are delicious.
      From Shakespeare to Collins to a young Sarah Kay,
      their fabulous words chase my hunger away.
      I tell her to try some to get out of this mess.
      I stick one in her pocket with utter finesse.
      She finally understands and she lets me off the hook.
      The following morning there are even fewer books.
      She covers for me, she lies to the press…
      and she walks with her hands in her dress.


      A man doesn’t have time in his life
      to have time for everything.
      He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
      a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes was wrong ~A Man In His Life by Yehuda Amichai

      Life is too short
      to dance and cavort,
      Time is fleeting
      and we’re beating our head
      against the walls of reason, coming
      to the realization that amidst all of our strife
      it is our responsibility to live as we should,
      to aid others in works of charity
      having clarity to accept challenges with which we are rife.
      A man doesn’t have time in his life

      to do what he needs to do.
      But his ambition is fueled by the need
      to succeed; a personal greed for acceptance.
      So he strives to fit his flights of fancy
      into little adventures meant to satisfy.
      “Mission accomplished” has a nice ring,
      but the whole gist of his life’s bucket list
      is to try and fit all he can into it.
      It feels good; makes a heart sing
      to have time for everything.

      He will never know the time or place
      and this rat race is an all out chase
      to the finish line, knowing that life was meant
      to be a marathon and not a sprint. But all he is allotted
      is today. He should live life as if it is his first day; his last day.
      The only day to get things right and save
      the good fight for battles that matter.
      To every turn there is a thing and reason
      and to this one thought he is a slave -
      he doesn’t have seasons enough. To have

      time enough is to hold the grail,
      and he will fail if no attempt is even made.
      Every drummer marches to his own parade,
      and if he can juggle his desires
      his life will fire on all cylinders.
      It can be all be had for a song,
      as long as he carries the right tune.
      But, it will be over too soon, so seize life.
      He’ll need to take it as it comes along;
      a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes was wrong

    21. This is indeed a difficult form–very challenging. Here’s my first attempt:

      I Knew a Woman

      I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
      When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
      Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
      The shapes a bright container can contain!
      –Theodore Roethke

      Beauty’s only skin deep, he quipped
      but ugly runs clean to the bone,
      thinking himself clever, unaware
      of eyes, closing like shades at night.
      His tactless humor at the expense
      of some poor homely girl brought groans
      from friends who could bear to tell him
      how he came across to pretty girls.
      He learned his lesson, though, and now atones:
      I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,

      he says now, to anyone who’ll stop
      and listen. Sometimes, he’ll grab the arm
      of passersby to compel them to stop
      and hear his self-incriminating tale,
      like some poor ancient mariner,
      how, he sidled up to her on a whim,
      thinking his attention was a gift,
      expecting her gratitude, not even
      gaining her attention. She hardly notice him.
      When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;

      So there he stood under the stars, alone with only her.
      who just as soon swat him away.
      And not a single clever thing to say
      came to his mind. He stood, slackjawed,
      tranfixed by this ordinary girl, no single
      attribute he could inventory, none
      he could quit put his finger on, and yet
      he could not take his eyes off her face.
      She captivated him, standing stone still, but
      Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:

      Not knowing where she might go next, he stood
      unmoving, waiting, trying not to scare away
      this rarest bird, just out of reach. She’d heard
      his thoughtless patter, not at her expense
      but often he had injured some dear friend
      she chose to champion. Now his pain
      failed to move her. So he offered up his heart,
      unbroken, since til then he’d never given it away.
      His penance—her tokens of forgiveness–
      The shapes a bright container can contain!

    22. From Emily Dickinson’s “In the Garden”

      A bird came down the walk:
      He did not know I saw;
      He bit an angle-worm in halves
      And ate the fellow, raw.

      My Rendition

      I took a stroll one day
      to see what I could see.
      Some things familiar,
      others strange;
      A small child
      dressed only in one sock
      and a diaper.
      I paused to ponder
      and to talk;
      A bird came down the walk.

      I said not a word
      but watched the child
      observe the bird.
      Unafraid, the robin stood steady
      I drew out a pencil
      and began to draw
      the scene before me.
      In a flash,
      the robin beaked a piece of straw.
      He did not know I saw.

      The child and I watched
      as the bird flew out of sight.
      I thought him gone,
      but in an instant he was back
      looking for new straw pieces
      on zig-zaggy paths.
      He became desperate as he looked
      under leaves, over twigs,
      pecked at the babies calves.
      He bit an angle-worm in halves.

      With a wild look in his eye,
      the bird began to caw like a crow,
      and flop about as if he had a broken wing;
      the look in his eye frightened me
      and made me want to run
      at what I saw.
      He took a giant leap
      toward the babe,
      let out one more “caw”
      and ate the fellow raw!

    23. -from, I’ll Rise by Maya Angelou-


      I Rise as One

      Some things in life drift
      With the changing tide
      Back and forth
      Going with the flow
      A watercraft
      Whipping from one
      Wave to the next, then
      Buried in the sand
      A hiding place, these
      Twists and turns of mine–
      Just like moons and like suns

      I found solace there
      Buried in the sand
      Waves lapping
      Back and forth
      Across my legs
      Meditative rides
      Rhythmic ecstasy
      Going with the flow
      No favored sides
      With the certainty of tides

      Seagulls flying low
      Crying out
      Up and down
      Diving in the sea, while
      At the water’s edge
      I watch them fly
      They offer peace
      Symphonic tunes
      Deep breath, a peaceful sigh
      Just like hopes springing high

      The salty air
      Slaps my cheeks alive
      Grits between my teeth
      As I speak to the wind
      Stand up, spread my arms
      Separate my thighs
      And spin, spin, spin
      A whirlybird
      Newfound hopes, no surprise
      Still I rise

    24. julie e. says:

      WOW. i am so impressed with everyone who posted their glosas. And i love that your individual styles show clearly even in this insanely different form. i’ve learned much today. i may even attempt one when it doesn’t have to appear the same day.

    25. sonja j says:

      All right, I just got home (where all my books are!), and have found some lines I think I can work with. So NOW I am starting in on this prompt… I do like a challenge though, and I have never done a glosa. It appears to be something like a cascade on steroids.

    26. shellaysm says:

      From Emily Dickinson’s poem “There is another sky”

      Here is a brighter garden,
      Where not a frost has been;
      In its unfading flowers
      I hear the bright bee hum
      Outside the fence, life’s
      moving forward, keeping up,
      yet lost all the same
      accumulating rusty dreams,
      soon-to-be-expired totems.
      There, wind and rain harden
      and worries fill each breath.
      Time too often gets bartered.
      Request for a pardon,
      here, is a brighter garden.

      Inside this vine-covered cove
      words flow like downhill streams,
      ideas bud freely as thorned roses,
      and thoughts form daisy chains.
      Stealing over the fence, that lurking kin
      weaves wild runners of guilt, obligation
      into the tributary’s vein
      choking and chilling with sin
      where not a frost has been.

      Escaping under the canopy,
      the drips of jarring rain
      cannot penetrate the skin
      or shake the cocooned muse
      from its wrinkled seed pod.
      Foxglove’s freckled spire towers
      along the fence’s catwalk
      like a periscope watch
      with crystal ball powers
      in its unfading flowers.

      In the garden there’s endless nectar.
      Nature itself supports the leggy,
      lifting each wayward branch
      and nurturing new shoots
      alongside the weeds.
      Away from the foliage, I’m numb,
      a feeling of being stripped
      until again the sun returns
      and home, all’s plumb.
      I hear the bright bee hum.

    27. julie e. says:

      Being utterly ignorant of this form and too tired at this point in the day to try something this far out of my league, i guess i’m gonna GLOSA over this one…..


    28. Hannah says:

      I LOVE this prompt!! I’m so happy with what resulted and the perfect excuse to break my haiku habit, (even if for a day)!

      Thank you Carol, Robert…all! :)


    29. so much depends
      a red wheel
      (William Carlos Williams)

      snow clouds drift
      our valley
      stair-step summer
      bitter winter
      weather bends
      so much depends

      on fickle
      swinging south
      with bird flights
      weeks ago,
      over lakes spun

      with visual
      of industry
      a dormancy
      of last flash
      to mold-meal
      a red wheel

      turning through
      in coursing blood
      and genes
      in water and
      cycles shifting in
      slicing harrow;

      so much depends
      a red wheel

    30. Oh. My. Word. I finally got over here to pick up the prompt and … whoa … This makes Sestina look like a walk in the park. Okay, maybe a very long, winding walk in the park, but , you know …

    31. A better — or at least, more stylistically accurate! — second attempt.


      My clouded reflection eyes me
      like a bird of prey, the profile of night
      slanted against morning. I turn
      this way—the stone lets me go.

      — Yusef Komunyakaa, “Facing It”

      I have no love for graveyards,
      which is what I try to tell my
      mother on our way to visit the
      hideous headstone that covers
      the man I almost, once, called
      father. More determined, she
      fixes her eyes on the wet black
      road that stretches long before
      us. I turn away. In rain, I see
      my clouded reflection eyes me

      with something like my mother’s
      sadness. At the graveyard—my
      mother shushes me and tells me,
      quite firmly, that the damn thing
      is a cemetary, and would I please,
      just once, for her sake, use the right
      word?—I climb out of the car and
      stare at the gates through the rain,
      swallowed in dark without any light.
      Like a bird of prey, the profile of night

      creeps between the trees, and the
      stillness of the place sends the cold
      down the back of my blouse, and for
      once, it isn’t rain in my shirt with me.
      Why tonight, of all times? What in
      hell possesses sane people to yearn
      for their loved ones some days and
      not others? I study my mother and long
      for sunlight, its warmth, its biting burn
      Slanted against morning. I turn

      to follow my ghost-mother, something
      like my constant companion, and yet,
      nothing like the woman I knew once,
      as she sidles between the wet graveside
      markers and kneels in front of a cross.
      I stare instead—I can’t think that I owe
      this nameless person anything, not
      now. When I’m done being in prison,
      I walk back by way of another row.
      This way—the stone lets me go.

    32. Tinman – A Glosa Poem

      “There are names for what binds us:
      strong forces, weak forces.
      Look around, you can see them:
      the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,”

      - Jane Hirschfield – “For What Binds Us”

      ax dragging the ground
      furrows lining all his days and tomorrows
      blade quickly dulled by such a lax arm
      where does the strength come
      to swing what we were born with
      is there any need to discuss
      that we are all more than we carry
      the inevitable horrors of rust
      that actions and their consequences define us
      there are names for what binds us

      Hidden behind and facing away from
      the screen, life flickers black and white
      against the shadows
      of blank cottage walls,
      the message is indistinguishable
      from the light that courses
      from downed trees, licking flames of wood
      cut to exacting lengths despite varying thicknesses,
      such is the way, he thinks, of primary sources
      strong forces, weak forces

      choices, we all have choices, she said,
      smug executioner or hard woodsmanship,
      sleep the sleep of the dead
      or be a sleepless eye feasting, never
      filling, empty chest echoing, heaving
      cold metal glittering always cutting the hem
      of the soft flesh you so long for,
      the beasts trees and birds of the forest
      treating you no more than a polished gem,
      look around, you can see them

      tin man is his own reflection
      a sun glinting surface
      no breath steaming his polished mirror
      the only distortion oily tears
      real or contrived by a distant maker
      always on the cusp
      of knowing from whence comes
      this desire, this inevitable longing,
      to be what fills you up,
      the skin that forms in a half empty cup


      Let them bury your big eyes
      in the secret earth securely,
      Your thin fingers, and your fair,
      Soft, indefinite-colored hair–

      ~Edna St. Vincent Millay – “Elegy”

      In the passage of time, life finds the breath to survive
      the loss and ache of the pained heart.
      Where you start depends on how quickly
      the wound of death mends and brings peace
      to one so loved and never forgotten. It is not
      that your vision has burned itself through the eyes
      of this poet’s heart, nor the lack of memory
      that you have crossed the bar,
      it is that your unbridled spirit fills the skies.
      Let them bury your big eyes

      the color of chocolate compassion,
      and let silence seal lips so long denied.
      Do not allow the coldness of your touch extinguish
      The eternal flame that love had ignited,
      Unconditionally and requited; love lives
      In the depth of a buried heart purely.
      Although we have been long since started,
      Conjoined hearts retain their synchronicity
      And it is in this complexity you are sequestered surely
      in the secret earth securely.

      You will live always, in the words my muse chooses,
      Thoughts will bring to bear the heavy burden
      Of your passing. You are the lasting impression
      That seeds my intercession; an obstacle to overcome.
      Each hurdle brings me to an understanding that
      Love is less demanding over time, and it is there
      That the pain is eased. It pleases my sensibilities
      That I can keep you close, yet mostly hidden
      In a loving mind and heart; an accepted dare.
      Your thin fingers, and your fair,

      Complexion had captured me,
      They had been your attraction
      That precipitated the action that lead
      to our coming together. And now that life has given me
      the reprieve of reconciliation, my celebration becomes
      the mantle you have taught me to share.
      And all tender moments hence commence
      In the part of your soul that remains in my heart
      In the mists of memory I will recognize you there,
      your soft, indefinite-colored hair–

    34. posmic says:


      “After the dandelions had spread like
      marmalade over the lawns, after
      the lilacs had come white and purple

      and gone, then it was blueberrying”

      —Thomas R. Moore, “Sex, Cousins, and Blueberrying”

      In summer that year, we were nine
      and ten, composed almost entirely
      of mosquito bites and moxie, with
      a quiver of sadness somewhere in
      the middle, where we were still as
      soft as children are. So we’d strike
      each other’s biceps to show that
      we weren’t soft at all, didn’t care
      about broken things, a stolen bike,
      after the dandelions had spread like

      butter or the blood of all those bugs,
      ladybugs, that we squashed, almost
      always on accident. We just wanted
      to look at them, hold them on blades
      of grass that began to dry, shrivel in
      the sun, our sweaty hands. Laughter
      was almost not allowed; as we ate
      fancy sandwiches our mothers made,
      we were as silent as roof and rafter.
      Marmalade over the lawns, after

      we were done, stuck to the grass as
      proof that we’d been there. We liked
      to leave our mark. When we weren’t
      quiet, we made noise, running down
      the morning streets, discovering how
      something as small as a loud burp will
      disturb the great drift of silence behind
      every closed window. We would lift our
      shirts sometimes, check for a nurple.
      The lilacs had come, white and purple;

      we loved the word purple, and spent
      all summer rhyming it as close as we
      could, arriving at nurple also because
      we couldn’t say the real word. It was
      too much like health class, ridiculous
      and scary, when we were tarrying
      a while longer as girls, girls never
      knowing how few the years were
      before we’d both end up marrying
      and gone. Then it was blueberrying.

    35. Marjory MT says:

      The last four lines of
      by Mary Carolyn Davies
      (pre 1960’s)

      I sat on a broad stone
      And sang to the birds.
      The tune was God’s making
      But I made the words.

      * * *

      I met a Little Man
      who told me of a trip
      he set upon one day
      along a forest way.
      “Seeking the unknown,
      I set out all alone
      to go on an adventure,
      to find and see new things.
      When, just past a giant pinecone,
      I sat on a broad stone.

      “Under the towering pines,
      I felt a cooling breeze
      and caught the lingering scent
      of springtime in the trees
      then marveled as some butterflies
      flittered by in rainbow herds,
      and bright birds winged overhead
      bearing straw to line their beds.
      I sought to find the words,
      and sang to the birds.

      “I rose to follow a
      shrouded path so filled
      to overflowing with
      needles from the trees
      they cushioned all footsteps.
      I bent my head seeking
      to hear the bird songs
      echo through the air.
      The gentle silence breaking
      the tune was God’s making.

      “I stopped by a cooling brook
      flowing from a hidden spring.
      Hopping rocks, I crossed to a field
      of giant white mushrooms,
      reminding me of a rhyme
      Of a girl sitting on a toad’s
      (stool), but I wondered on
      still seeking ‘til I found
      the melody sung by the birds,
      but I made the words.”

      By Marjory M Thompson

    36. I had to ease in to the prompt today — my first attempt, here, is a slightly modified version of the glosa format, without the formal rhyme scheme.

      Bitterness: A Glosa

      And that scamper of feeling in my chest,

      As if the day, the night, wherever it is
      I am by then, has been only a whir

      Of something other than waiting.

      — Tracy K. Smith, “I Don’t Miss It”

      All I ever wanted, or expected, from
      what we once had—could we call it
      a relationship, or not, do you think?
      —was more than the way we finally
      disintegrated, there toward the end,
      and began playing innocent when we
      both knew better, that neither of us
      could ever be innocent again, and I
      missed your sidelong look at my hands,
      and that scamper of feeling in my chest

      when your eyes told me that you wanted
      whatever it was you thought I had to
      offer you. I always doubted that I could
      be what you wanted me to be. I guess we
      proved me right, after all. You never
      wore innocence very well, not with your
      devilish eyebrows and the demonic way
      you could touch me and send me sparkling
      like stars, or bubbles in a champagne glass,
      as if the day, the night, wherever it is

      or was, by the time you finished with me,
      was only worth as much to you as your
      hands on my body, smooth with scented
      oil, and the way you manipulated me,
      there at the end. I remember telling you,
      once, that I never wanted to play games,
      and I remember, too, how you smiled at
      me like I was your child instead of your
      lover. I told you once, that whatever
      I am by then, has only been a whir

      in twisted bedclothes to you, never more
      than just exactly that, and you stared at
      me and your demonic touch came hard
      and quick that night, punishing, full of
      the jealousy you never wanted to admit
      to my face, but I knew it was there,
      anyway. I always knew. Dreams come
      too late, so I perch here, sipping a too-dry
      martini, and wait for the slightest glimpse
      of something other than waiting.

    37. rustydude says:

      Nov. 18
      Rough attempt – today was baptism Sunday at our local church – Awesome to witness
      This verse carried me through a very difficult time in my life.

      Isaiah 46:4

      Even to your old age and grey hairs
      I am He, I am He who will sustain you
      I have made you and I will carry you
      I will sustain you and I will rescue you

      There’s a stirring power in the wind
      Calling, calling all that have sinned
      Reverberating the channels of memories
      Gathering faults, and mercy pleas
      Denied too long may force eternal regret
      Eternally lament not walking up those stairs
      It’s never to early, definitely never too late
      Just a simple prayer, and a trust of fate
      Forget your past, forget their stares
      Even to your old age and grey hairs

      What you have done makes none the matter
      The decision chooses direction of the ladder
      Screams of forgotten, burning yet not consuming
      Or shouts of joy, forgiveness, full atoning
      Those were the choices placed before souls in view
      They gladly partook, got up from their pew
      Considered what of their life to be at loss
      If they surrendered it all up to the cross
      For us attending a blessing so ultimate true
      I am He, I am He who will sustain you

      Each spoke their life and shared their grief
      How the world stole their trust a devious thief
      Choices made and the consequence carried
      Burdens so heavy some wished just be buried
      Then discovering a love always and only true
      Brief consideration left one thing to do
      Regardless of what or who caused their fall
      One by one accepted His promising call
      With My hands and My feet pierced through
      I have made you and I will carry you

      As the congregation wept in tears of joy
      Boxes of tissues and handkerchiefs deploy
      As we wept we smiled; our lips our hearts
      Heaven was in reach, this was the start
      Not a place to spare left in a pew
      Friends and family watched all they knew
      Pastor soaked in the baptismal fount
      Souls the devil no longer could count
      They hearken these words of God I know to be true
      I will sustain you and I will rescue you

    38. UNMAPPED

      I don’t know
      Yet. I too have walked down there
      In that place where the green
      Acacias get dark before your eyes.
      James Wright, “What Does the Bobwhite Mean?”

      Someone left
      a trail of footprints
      in the sand of dry arroyo,
      a place where
      no one walks, no
      one’s ever thought to go.
      What brought me
      this way – what subtle
      elemental glow –
      I don’t know.

      The mystery
      of unfamiliar landscape,
      how it holds
      a history of stone
      made tessera by time
      and weather; laid bare
      as consequence.
      A footprint giving back
      the sky’s stare.
      Yet, I too have walked down there

      when no one’s watching,
      into deserted spaces
      always searching
      for what?
      Like remembrance,
      the winds lean
      into a wordless monody
      or animal howl –
      a voice of plaint and keen
      in that place where the green

      binds to water underground.
      A landscape
      tough and scrubby,
      scoured by sun that plays
      mirage tricks, wind
      makes earth-spirits rise
      out of sand arroyo.
      They say, where an ancient
      secret lies,
      acacias get dark before your eyes.

    39. Generations

      “The generations standing at our bed.

      And when our bodies sleep, the road is drawn
      Upon the walls again, where our souls float.
      Our souls are passing by and, see: they’re gone.”

      “At Night” by Yehuda Amichai

      We take a thread from me
      and a thread from you
      and entwine them into one.
      We become the start of our history,
      making a new generation:
      our story to long be read,
      forming and growing
      as we weave through time;
      We are watched by those long dead,
      the generations standing at our bed.

      We make choices
      and more than a few mistakes
      as we journey forward
      creating, blending with you
      until what we make
      is new, like the rising dawn
      with rainbows and storms
      shuddering our hold
      until we fold with a mighty yawn
      and when our bodies sleep, the road is drawn.

      Ah, the things we learn,
      the things we teach
      some things feel out of reach but
      really all is within our grasp
      we just need to stretch
      to see what it is they wrote,
      to forge our own path;
      walking on with memories
      whispered like a quote
      upon the walls again, where our souls float.

      As the generations look down on us
      let’s hope we are not lacking
      we tried our best
      to ascend in their hallowed shoes
      treading not lightly
      never wanting to abuse, not be a pawn
      for the taking but a knight in the making
      to aspire to more, reaching full potential before
      seeing our lives unfold like the wings of a swan
      our souls are passing by and, see: they’re gone

    40. Jane Shlensky says:

      I successfully found scores of opening quatrains from poets I love. The rest was, um, challenging. Thanks for helping me dust the cobwebs from my brain with this one, Carol.


      “When the Great Bird soars
      His wingbeats rattle the world,
      But even he cannot save himself—
      He is broken in the sky.”
      Li Po, “The Great Bird”

      The binoculars on my table
      grow dusty from disuse
      so long a time has passed
      since I sought the kinship
      of winged things. Dog-eared
      from thumbing to name visitors,
      the small field guide catalogs
      hopes for sighting, hopes for survival,
      hopes for being out of doors
      when the Great Bird soars.

      Once I went out to them,
      chasing a flutter of wing,
      a flash of color, red or indigo,
      holding my breath in birdsong,
      poised unmoving on a crackling leaf.
      Now, like a tree trunk burled,
      I keep close to home, invite them
      all to dine, waiting for the great one
      to find me, his wings unfurled—
      his wingbeats rattle the world.

      We know a little of the ones we’ve lost,
      the Carolina parakeets, vast flocks
      like flowers falling from the skies,
      magical realism twittering in the cherries;
      how they were slaughtered winging
      in circles back to their dead. Our health
      and theirs are linked to wilderness, forests,
      swamps, and mountain peaks. We vow
      to change our ways, but lazy, forgetful, we are
      shocked at great bird stuffed and on a shelf.
      But even he cannot save himself—

      even when he travels far and wide
      into unknown habitats–his avian radar
      turned from his nesting zones
      hot-wired into him by ancestors–
      to new clumps of trees, man-made lakes,
      he proves that he is willing to try
      to save his own life, willing to adapt.
      If We cannot cling to wings’ mystery,
      make of our hearts a coterie, ask Why,
      he is broken in the sky.

    41. Searching

      “When on my goodly charger borne
      Thro’ dreaming towns I go,
      The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
      The streets are dumb with snow.”

      “Sir Galahad” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

      Passing each task and test
      marks him the better,
      earns him a spot on a table round
      a vacant seat filled at last.
      Receiving a fair welcome, for
      he has slayed all thoughts of scorn
      and now on his shoulders lays a quest.
      With music and fanfare he is prepared,
      his journey starts when the heralds blow the horn,
      when on my goodly charger borne.

      Traveling through changing seasons
      his mission to complete,
      he travels mostly alone
      rescuing fair women in distress,
      assisting others when needed.
      He never shows any woe
      nor lapses in judgment,
      his quest his only bride…
      never to be a beau,
      thro’ dreaming towns I go.

      His quest he does complete
      and on his journey to the table round
      angels descend and take him home.
      Now many men have tried to fill his shoes,
      to test their courage
      but none with his skills have yet been born.
      What they seek has never been found
      and still they search as eras pass
      and the story becomes more worn,
      the cock crows ere the Christmas morn.

      We are all seeking
      a grail of our own,
      holy or otherwise.
      Searching for that something
      to make our life complete,
      to make the days flow
      but I think we will still be searching
      when death descends, and
      only then will we know,
      the streets are dumb with snow.

    42. Wow, this is a doozy all right – quite a contrast from yesterday’s “how-to” poem, and especially since most of my poems this month have been relatively short. I rarely write one of 40 lines or more, but here goes – still a work in progress:


      My candle burns at both ends;
      It will not last the night;
      But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
      It gives a lovely light!

      - Edna St. Vincent Millay

      This life can be so exhausting –
      bills and renovations, chores and children
      who have needed, demanded, succeeded -
      a career winding down, and days that
      I just go through the motions.
      How I feel by evening depends
      on how much stress has worn me down,
      abraded just my skin, or bitten into muscle,
      or struck a nerve, the knife of pain it sends.
      My candle burns at both ends,

      I know I never get much sleep.
      Some of that is due to worry, some
      is things to do, but much of it wanting
      quiet time, the aging evening when
      everyone’s in bed, and I unwind
      with a book, or sitting down to write,
      or maybe music or a movie, as I echo
      through the house. But in the smaller hours
      the flame of my attention burns less bright –
      it will not last the night.

      Still, this evening I recall my youth – we thought
      ourselves immortal, till a car hit a neighbor kid
      on his bike. Even then, we thought of death
      as some remote land as far away as Mars.
      When we played “World War II”, each casualty
      sprang up again – a brand new man extends
      his life until the next mishap.
      We wish our lives could blaze forever, yet
      our plans don’t always fit what life intends.
      But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,

      so many of you have gone before me -
      the school bully, dead in a car crash
      at seventeen; my best friend just this year -
      cancer snuffed his wick. I should be grateful
      walking past so many milestones
      with a good woman on my right –
      we still hold hands and kiss goodnight
      and watch our children build their lives.
      Today, a grandchild’s birth’s in sight –
      it gives a lovely light.

    43. RJ Clarken says:


      Was it for this I uttered prayers,
      And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
      That now, domestic as a plate,
      I should retire at half-past eight?

      Grown-Up, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

      When I was young I hated naps.
      I’d rather stay up late. Perhaps
      if I knew then what I know now
      there would have been no sob, no scowl.
      See, now I would not put on airs
      or curse my folks or kick the stairs.
      Instead, I’d welcome ‘time-for-bed,’
      where I could rest my weary head.
      But will night’s dreams rehash day’s cares?
      Was it for this I uttered prayers?

      All through the day, I problem-solve
      ‘though worries somehow still evolve.
      The kids, the house, the job and school:
      too late I’ve learnt this golden rule.
      But here’s the thing, it is what scares
      me. How was I caught unawares?
      When did I go from kid to grown?
      Is there a middle-aged postpone
      button somewhere that makes repairs?
      I sob and curse and kick the stairs

      for in my younger days, I thought
      I’m bulletproof. I won’t get caught
      just like those ‘burby soccer moms
      who dream of backrubs, scented balms
      and sweet escapes, which would be great –
      but oh right now, they’ll have to wait.
      There’s other things: priority
      is my premiere authority.
      Shape up! Get going! And, lose weight!
      I’m now domestic as a plate.

      And at the end of each long day
      I tell myself I am okay
      (or try, at least. It sometimes works.)
      Despite it all, there are some perks.
      My kids (sometimes) say, “Mom, you’re great!”
      My husband takes me on a date
      to places where I’m not the cook
      and don’t need my appointment book.
      But generally, mid-yawn, I’ll state,
      I should retire at half-past eight.


    44. ceeess says:

      Carol Stephen here:
      I too was feeling that I could not write a glosa, and resisted a long time. But once I tried it, I really loved this form. I’ve enjoyed reading the efforts here and find that you’ve done a great job on your glosas! Glad you gave it a go.
      For those who used a different form, well, that’s okay too. But don’t let it scare you. Give it a try when you are not under pressure of one-a-day. I found the hardest thing was to find the right four lines to use. You have to really connect to the lines you choose.

      Cheers! And thanks as always to Robert for coordinating these challenges, and for the examples!

    45. DAHutchison says:

      From T.S. Eliot

      “The Naming of Cats”

      When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
      The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
      His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
      Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:

      “Of Nieces and Sneezes”

      When they give me that look, like a knife in my heart,
      And they see all the couples, their questioning starts,
      Such an awful confluence, is what I would say,
      But they’re kids so I’ll have to stay simple today,
      How to address it? There’s only one way.
      “Uncle Dave, Uncle Dave!” (I can feel my deflation),
      And here comes the question, no getting past that,
      ”Do you really think ALL single girls own a cat?”
      For sneezing can certainly end your elation,
      When you notice a cat in profound meditation,

      When they give me that look, like I might be insane,
      To live life alone, oh, it gives me such pain,
      I could cynically tell them I don’t earn enough,
      To attract a woman who’d show me true love,
      But I know their mother would just call my bluff.
      I could say I’m too busy to get in the game,
      Another half-truth, or a quarter at best,
      I just gripe about cats, and I leave out the rest,
      And so, my dear nieces, the cats get the blame,
      The reason, I tell you, is always the same.

      When they give me that look, what a lonely old man,
      “Go find your true love,” is the obvious plan,
      I could tell them I’ve just gotten set in my ways,
      An eighth truth at best and a lie never pays,
      Am I meant to be single for all of my days?
      “Take a cruise!” Mom suggests, a seaside vacation,
      But the single girls still have cats waiting at home,
      The nieces dig in. Must I write them a tome?
      They see my distress, their Uncle’s frustration,
      His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation

      What about Becky? She doesn’t own pets.
      “She’s just not my type,” is as far as I get.
      And Pamela’s nice, but she owns a grey tabby,
      At last my excuses aren’t sounding too shabby,
      For I hate when my eyes get all itchy and scabby,
      I wonder how felines have earned so much fame,
      I find them amusing, but also aloof,
      “Pamela’s pet is a dog, I have proof!”
      “No, Fido’s a cat!” I say, head hung in the shame,
      Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:

    46. I tweaked the rules a bit, so it would work with haiku. :)

      rowing through
      out of the mist
      the wide sea
      –- Shiki


      only the sound
      of oars in water
      rowing through

      so far away
      mountains rise
      out of the mist

      with my thoughts
      the wide sea

    47. De Jackson says:

      Divining Rod

      I’ve walked since then with no one but the ghosts…
      I found the water.
      And I wept for everything.
      And I learned to tell the world how gorgeous it is to be alone.
                       - Patrick Rosal “Finding Water”

      See, here’s the thing –
      I didn’t know how long it would take
      just to get out the door. I had to
      abandon the maps, and watch the windows
      rise and fall, collect my steamy self
      up off the floor and coax her most
      of all to wear less sunscreen. But I did
      it, with the help of a stray shoehorn. Reborn, and
      claiming the calm that only freedom boasts,
      I’ve walked since then with no one but the ghosts

      and held the beat of tree limbs in my palms
      pricked along these trickled trails
      stretched and etched with fears and failures.
      Their withered, weathered bark told tales and
      lies of less tumbled times,
      and I, their dissident daughter.
      Two paths arose, sun-dimpled, shaded
      in solitude, song and sway.
      Begging my breath, and taking the broader,
      I found the water.

      Today, you rang a bell from some far
      -off distant leaf, and I tried to follow
      its whisper, but I lost the scent
      somewhere after that giant oak
      that bridges these shadows to sky. I gathered
      twigs and tied them loose with crimson string
      and made a ship to seize this borrowed breeze
      as this rattled river rose too high,
      steeled its soul and sold its sting.
      And I wept for everything

      we knew, uncaught, forgot.
      I scattered my shed salt along the banks,
      hoping others might follow its snow
      even as my echo met with silence.
      I wept, and wrapped my tired feet in all
      the strangest sorrows these streams have ever known.
      A flashlight moon laddered the falls
      and lit the last unlittered edge.
      Here I spilled my heart, a small and quiet stone,
      and I learned to tell the world how gorgeous it is to be alone.


    48. barbara_y says:


      I placed a jar in Tennessee,
      And round it was, upon a hill.
      It made the slovenly wilderness
      Surround that hill.
      _____Anecdote of the Jar
      ______by Wallace Stevens

      some god
      or mischief maker
      drew a grand grid
      over the void-laced universe
      an intersection
      scratched an X
      bent down, and laughing,
      placed a jar in Tennessee

      on a hill the ants despised as small
      on a hill cars drove over, passengers unaware of rising
      on a dandelion hill, a bermuda grass hill
      on a hill too close to flat to shake a god-jar off
      so it stayed on a hill and filled with rain
      and mosquito larvae, on a hill, and dandelion seeds
      and whirlygig maple seeds upon a hill
      and sunlight and spiders
      and self-awareness
      And round it was, upon a hill.

      how over-full
      how afraid how weak how fragile
      how suddenly responsible
      how awake and turning all night
      how worried over tide and storm surge
      and the cost of education and band-aids
      how knotty, tangled, unprepared
      how puzzled
      how proud
      It made the slovenly wilderness

      all the hallelujah choruses and funeral home fan jesuses
      all the pietas and pita breads and well-bred children
      all the all the starry nights nightjars and mason jars
      all the swimming pools and pool tables
      all the bars
      all the hayfields
      all the beaches
      and oceans
      all the mountains of the earth
      Surround that hill.

    49. Marianv says:

      I write for the joy of writing. I am too old to figure out things like line count, word count, ect.
      I will read what everyone has written. I will also write a “wordle” using today’s words
      which I consider fun. Happy “glosas” to you all who are able to figure them outl

    50. Words by Robert William Service

      For though I love life’s scene,
      It seems absurd,
      My greatest joy has been
      The printed word.



      Since childhood, I’ve been bewitched
      by words – their sounds and meaning -
      I often sit, rolling a word around on my tongue
      as if it was the last tasty morsel of a favorite dish.
      Words like rutabaga or peregrine -
      what joy learning what they mean -
      then saying them over and over again
      in different voices – high and low -
      as if a pauper, as if a queen.
      For though I love life’s scene,

      The joys of running in the wood
      or sitting by the shore
      my greatest joy is language –
      the meaning and the sounds.
      Such a love consumes a soul -
      an obsession for the word.
      Daydreams consist of poetry
      and the lyric sounds of letters
      sung in harmony – a mere word -
      It seems absurd!

      Now add to the this obsession,
      Careers where words were necessary –
      in fact, required every day.
      As a writer, I ate daily from dictionary
      and thesaurus stew.
      Words got under my skin!
      The best was yet to come, however -
      As I learned to teach my craft.
      Opening the minds of children,
      my greatest joy has been.

      Now, my joy increases,
      as daily, I go to share
      my love for language with others,
      who have come from distant lands
      in hopes of finding freedom
      in a place where their voice is heard.
      With great passion, I teach
      the love that consumes my soul.
      A gift – spoken, uttered -
      The printed word.

    51. From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

      A child said, What is the grass?
      fetching it to me with full hands;
      How could I answer the child?
      I do not know what it is any more than he.

      From Andrea Heiberg’s Leaves of Grass

      Every day in the morning at eight
      you came to learn,
      took your seats,
      reluctantly fetched your books,
      opened them.
      Good morning class.
      You looked up,
      you replied nothing.
      I let that pass.
      A child said, What is the grass?

      Here in this classroom at 8.05
      I sat down,
      took my seat,
      reluctantly got my Ipad,
      opened it,
      I’ve had completely different plans.
      I looked up when ready
      but here was this boy
      with grass out from the Wester lands
      fetching it to me with full hands;

      now spreading it on my desk.
      I thought of Doris Lessing,
      the riots in South Africa,
      I thought of Somne,
      Verdun, Arlington
      and looking through what’s filed
      on teachers’ pages on the internet,
      I gave up
      and looked up and smiled:
      How could I answer the child?

      And in this classroom way past 8.05
      filled with this particular smell
      of fresh grass
      just cut right out here
      somewhere in this morning
      I felt so happy to be
      just this other teacher
      who loves this kind of wisdom
      and loves to see:
      I do not know what it is any more than he.

    52. pmwanken says:

      Hmm…excellent example, Robert, and Connie…a quick first entrant. But a “glosa” doesn’t fit my theme of posting shadormas this month. :-\ I made a “slight” modification to today’s challenge:

      (a shadorma)

      A glosa
      is today’s challenge.
      The form goes
      against my
      penchant for writing short forms.
      Today, I’m cheating.

    53. Wow, what a poetic workout! And this is entirely fiction.

      He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
      we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
      which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
      a device that allowed him to work into the night.

      -Billy Collins, “Candle Hat”

      The Hats

      I remember him well, our neighbor,
      puttering about in his garden
      humming to himself, wearing that ridiculous hat.
      Some said he was crazy,
      others called him eccentric.
      The hat was rhinestone studded and blue,
      wide rimmed, which shaded him, while he worked.
      His photo was still in the entryway of his house.
      We wondered about him, what he was up to.
      He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew.

      They say when his wife was alive,
      they took a cruise to some exotic place
      and had the time of their lives
      dancing, eating their fill, going a little wild.
      And they bought those matching hats.
      Hers was rhinestone studded and red.
      They worked and chatted in the garden,
      until one Indian summer evening she passed.
      So he must have thought, though she was dead,
      we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head.

      So we went into the house as prospective buyers.
      It would be a little rental we could care for from next door.
      I hadn’t been in the house since I was a child.
      It brought back memories of a flowered apron,
      a smiling woman and a tray of cookies.
      The realtor lady impatiently tapped her folders.
      I asked if I could see the attic
      and that’s when I found the old trunk,
      (I remember him carrying it up on his shoulders)
      which is fitted around the brim with candle holders.

      The wax had dripped down the sides.
      It appeared to be some kind of memorial.
      I gingerly opened it, breaking some of the wax.
      Tucked inside was the red hat
      and underneath, a pink baby dress
      and a photo of a baby in white.
      And then I remember watching him
      make a small wooden box up there in the attic
      wearing a hat, like a miner’s hat with a light,
      a device that allowed him to work into the night.

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