2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

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


Live webinar: Self-Editing: How to Get Your Manuscript Out of the Drawer and Onto the Shelves

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

83 thoughts on “2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

  1. Yolee

    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.

  2. foodpoet

    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.

  3. Andrew Kreider

    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.

  4. julie e.

    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.

  5. PKP

    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!

  6. PKP

    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

    1. PKP

      “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

  7. JRSimmang

    “‘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.”

  8. po

    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.”

  9. po


    “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.”

  10. Miss R.

    “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.

  11. Domino

    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

  12. DanielAri

    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.

  13. Sara McNulty

    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.

  14. jared davidavich

    ‘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

  15. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    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.

  16. Walt Wojtanik


    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

  17. Nancy Posey

    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!

  18. Sally Jadlow

    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!

  19. laurie kolp

    -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

  20. julie e.

    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.

  21. sonja j

    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.

  22. shellaysm

    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.

  23. bluerabbit47

    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

  24. Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz

    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.

  25. uneven steven

    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

  26. Walt Wojtanik


    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–

  27. posmic


    “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.

  28. Marjory MT

    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

  29. Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz

    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.

  30. rustydude

    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

  31. taylor graham


    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.

  32. Michelle Hed


    “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

  33. Jane Shlensky

    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.

  34. Michelle Hed


    “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.

  35. Bruce Niedt

    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.

  36. RJ Clarken


    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.


  37. ceeess

    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!

  38. DAHutchison

    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:

  39. Cara Holman

    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

  40. De Jackson

    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.


  41. barbara_y


    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.

  42. Marianv

    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

  43. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    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.

  44. Andrea Heiberg

    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.

  45. pmwanken

    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.

  46. Connie Peters

    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.