The PAD challenge prompt for today is to write a Glosa poem,  a Spanish form that works as well in the English language as in Spanish.   Glosas open with a quatrain from another poet, each line containing an epigram, followed by four ten-line stanzas terminating with the lines of the initial passage in consecutive order.  The sixth and ninth lines should rhyme with the borrowed tenth.  My opening quatrain is the final four lines of    William Shakespeare’s  Sonnet 76

So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.


To write good poetry
is near impossible
without a knowledge
of form and metre –
in isolation, not enough
without example as a cue.
Read and read
until you’re filled
with beauty turned askew
so all my best is dressing old words new.

Fumbling in a fog
the poet searched
for something new to write,
disentangling his store
of the master’s prosody,
quotations already lent
to his successors
likewise seeking
for the gems that poet sent,
spending again what is already spent.

How can we be original
when so much  is already written;
how turn a mundane thought
with skill into a verse of beauty;
without unconscious copying?
How dare we be so bold
to ape the bard,
without his genius,
outshining us tenfold?
As the sun is daily new and old

perhaps time changed  the import
of the earlier words
to  new significance
within the context of our modern world.
Perhaps on supplication
the bard may not withhold
consent for us to try
to write a worthwhile sonnet
which will shine anew as gold.
So is my love still telling what is told?

Given the time constraints of the challenge, and being out for a birthday lunch for Jock, this is inevitably a crude draft.  But I enjoyed the form, and shall work on it again later.

At Hannah’s suggestion, I’m linking this at With Real Toads Open Link , and would be glad of any suggestions for improvement.  Also linked at dVerse Poets’ pub, where you will find lots of lovely poetry.


All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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57 Responses to Glosa

  1. billgncs says:

    you have me hoist with my own petard – I had better look at the tools of the poetic trade 🙂


  2. This is quite a form and you succeeded, Viv. I suppose we do recycle the same truths in so many images. That’s part of the joy of poetry.


  3. Glenn Buttkus says:

    I agree with Brian: “All has not been said–all has not been read.” Somehow, poets & writers in the billions scour the same landscape, and unique creatures that we are, we can still find our own truth, our own turn of a phrase, metaphor, insight, time after time after time. I do enjoy attempting the classic poetic forms, but I could see in Tony Maude’s last prompt at dVerse, about rhythm & blank verse, some of us just see the world, and interpret it poetically; bless us every one.


  4. rmp says:

    there is definitely much to be learned from form, from other poets (old and new)… your selection for the cabeza is quite perfect given the form you’re using. I enjoyed this piece.


  5. Mary says:

    Perhaps we can’t write something perfect in form and meter and idea; but that should never stop us from expressing our thoughts in our own way. How frustrating it would be for me if I waited for such perfection. My blog would be blank. (smiles)


  6. kelly says:

    This is something I think about often, and I am constantly amazed at how we can keep dressing old words new, given how many of us there are on this planet. It’s fascinating.


  7. kamana says:

    i was wondering the same questions just yesterday. i think with any art form, there is the tendency to feel that way. but as many have said, there is so much more to be said and so many new ways in which to say it. loved this.


  8. Pat Hatt says:

    Stretch your skill, and the words shall fill


  9. A crude draft??? This is lovely! I have tried the Glosa twice, and love the challenge of the format. You have done this very well indeed!


  10. claudia says:

    How can we be original
    when so much is already written..? that is a good question… it’s the same with music… i mean there are just so few tunes and millions and millions of different pieces of music and different styles… it’s amazing..isn’t it… so i think we have still loads of new space to discover…smiles


  11. Wonderful. And yet another poetic form to get my brain cells around… One day! 🙂


  12. I came to this glosa second (after your lovely glosa with the cabeza from Page’s “Planet Earth”) and this one has the amazing wry humor that I’ve come to know and love from you. And an ars poetica, you know I can’t resist these. Beautifully done!


  13. hypercryptical says:

    An excellent response to the challenge – I do not think the Bard would mind a bit!

    Anna :o]


  14. This is an amazing statement of desire to write, fully knowing our limitations. Beautifully spoken.


  15. kelly says:

    Well done… these are questions often asked… never answered… and we keep writing just the same.
    I love your use of the form.


  16. brian miller says:

    you got a nice rhythm going on viv….there is plenty new to write…all has not been said, and if so not all has been read, so a new spin might be worth it…then again if two look at the same thing is not the perspective yet different?


    • brian miller says:

      smiles…been a bit…i still think there is room for it to be said still…still things to be found in the pen…the cool thing with the glosa is you get to join in with one of the greats eh? smiles..look forward to your new glosa viv…


      • Brian Miller says:

        third time is a charm…you know i was writing poetry a good 6 months to a year before i read it…and i still could not write an iamb if my life depended on it…still though, i agree that study/reading it all plays into craft…i think we have to make sure we keep our own voice and not adapt to those we read…but we can learn a trick and find new things to say in our own way…when we hold onto that…


  17. Laurie Kolp says:

    You rose up to the challenge well… and with Shakespeare, too! Mine was after Maya Angelou… I only posted it on Poetic Asides, though.


  18. peggygoetz says:

    Wow–this is wonderful. I had trouble even understanding the description of the glosa! I sometimes wonder how these forms get established. But this is lovely. Write on!


  19. ManicDdaily says:

    Again, wonderful. Very well done. Filling with beauty turned askew– I know, I’m not phrasing properly. Lovely. K.


  20. Crude? I say not…this is wonderful!


  21. Viv, this is “crude”? Well, I’m “screwed”!
    I understand your nods to the Bard, but truly, you have that music inside you, it spills out on the page and delights. I think Will would be mighty proud to have this piece associated with his work. Peace, Amy


  22. kateri says:

    “For as the sun is daily new and old,
    So is my love still telling what is told.”

    And that is exactly what poetry is about!


  23. Jeanne says:

    I love the tone and the form…it seems the poem itself is musings about musing. And as usual, I learned some new things just by visiting your site!


  24. margaretbednar says:

    Crude? Not at all! I loved the following:

    How dare we be so bold
    to ape the bard,
    without his genius,
    outshining us tenfold?”

    I think you did yourself proud and in such a short time! I think this is a lovely form that you should do again.


  25. Mary says:

    Enjoyed this very much. Ah, I wonder as well sometimes how one can write something original when so much has been written already! But I do think that the Bard would find this piece worthy!


  26. Sherry Marr says:

    Viv, I LOVE how you incorporated the Bard’s lines so seamlessly into your poem. You have expressed this beautifully and I dont think you need do one thing to it. I loved every line!


  27. Well done Viv, I’m sure even the Bard himself would be smiling if he could read this.


  28. Susan says:

    This is a new form to me and I love reading it through your poem. You apply Shakespeare to himself here–such a borrower he was, and in his sonnets to his many loves he always tends to praise his own poetry instead–and so you do here in this marvelous mobius strip of a poem about poetry. So clever and accessible at the same time that I wish I had written it myself! Thank you for bringing this to the Garden.


  29. Rorybore says:

    I had been rolling along with the challenge just fine, until this prompt. I don’t want admit defeat, but with 3 young children and a home to care for — a glosa cannot be built in a day! ha
    but this is fantastic….although if this is “crude” I am really in trouble. thanks for showing how it’s done!


  30. Well done, Viv. I particularly like “so all my best is dressing old words new” — so true, I find.


  31. PJF Sayers says:

    I have never heard of this form, Viv, this is quite beautiful.



  32. WabiSabi says:

    This has magic in it’s rhythm. After reading it, I hesitate to call what I am writing poetry! I do immerse myself in reading poetry – the masters and the modern . And get great joy from that. Thanks for sharing this.


  33. well done Viv, really! I hope that you will consider sharing an offering for this year’s 4th annual gratitude word quilt. You can find information about the project and how to participate at the top of my blog. If you’ve already sent something thank you and please forgive my poor memory. The quilt is growing quite expansive and with only first names, I can’t always remember who already shared. Feel free to write in your native language google translate is available on my blog so every one can read and understand one another. Every Blessing~ Laura


  34. “Read and read
    until you’re filled
    with beauty turned askew”

    I love this, Viv!!!

    You really worked the lines you chose well…each choice you made in the stanza preceding the borrowed lines not only support them but enhance them beautifully!!! So happy that this was my first read this A.M.!

    On another note…your explanation of the form goes into greater detail than the one onsite at PAD …for example I don’t think I saw the part about the quatrain we borrowed being the opening . I don’t think you’ll mind if I add your opening explanation to my post for this form…? I’m going to go ahead and make those changes.

    I was happy with the outcome for this one and since commenting @ PAD and Fb are limited I thought I’d link this poem to the Real Toads open link…maybe you could put your’s there as well to gather some more feedback.

    Smiles to you this chilly Monday morning!!


  35. Misky says:

    Well done, Viv! A gorgeous piece of work. The second stanza is my favourite.


  36. So flowing and so organic, music to my mind and ears.:)


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