What are we Doing? a Glosa

Cabeza  based  on PK Page’s poem Planet Earth, itself a Glosa, based on a poem by Neruda

O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it.
the rivers and little streams with their hidden cresses,
the sky overhead night and day
and the stars keep on shining overhead.


O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it
how we do mistreat our fragile home
by covering it with concrete, brick and tarmac,
abandoning the sane and healthy farming
of our forbears, planting, raising cattle,
caring for the soil that gives us life
using hands and sturdy horses,
replacing living workers with machines –
juggernauts compress the earth beyond safe limits;
earth,  habitat of man and linnet.

Rivers and little streams with hidden cresses,
poisoned with nitrate run-off
collapsing  bankside dwelling  of martin and vole;
filling gravel bed with the  detritus  of infamy:
beer cans and  lethal plastic packaging –
trivial trash that violates, transgresses
laws of nature designed for our protection.
Lead weights of selfish anglers kill the swans.
Such travesty. This feeble poem expresses
our anger, which may, just may, be what refreshes

our consciences. The sky overhead night and day
provokes reflection on the state of man –
what we have done to cause climatic change,
send thither  sunshine and pleasant weather,
provoke extremes; wash away soil with floods;
tornados, hurricanes betray
our security and that of every creature.
Do we blame the work of God omnipotent?
Who made the universe and all that’s in it?
Great mistake of our naiveté:
‘tis ignorance and greed that cause decay.

And the stars will keep on shining overhead
when we learn from errors, co-operate
with our environment, using, not abusing;
inspire diversity: in place of monoculture
heal the land with fauna, flexi-grazing,
rotation of  crops and go ahead
nature’s way.  It will take time and effort
to redress the balance of our actions
so that we no longer live in dread
of  devastation,   live simple lives instead.

For dVerse Poets’ Pub:  the prompt  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,  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.

Following an online conversation with Sam Peralta, who set the prompt, I have played about with the stanza form, placing the ‘borrowed’ line first,  keeping to a rhyme scheme in lines 1, 6, 9 and 10.  I have mainly written in iambic pentameter, contrary to the usual way of keeping to the style of the cabeza lines.  This poem is very much a first draft.  All suggestions welcome.

About https://vivinfrance.wordpress.com

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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22 Responses to What are we Doing? a Glosa

  1. 1sojournal says:

    Wonderful Viv, hope you have more,



  2. A wonderful write, with which I resonate completely. An intriguing form, too, Viv, executed with precision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Misky says:

    This is a very impressive work, Viv. I am in awe.


  4. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    Totally agree with your content, and I am impressed with the inventive way you made the glosa your own.


  5. Lydia says:

    Your environmental stance is in sync with my own. I would have found your glosa impressive even if that were not the case, however! Very powerful.
    (I had to hunt you down via the Mr. Linky. When I clicked on your link accompanying your lovely comment at my blog–thank you–it took me to your profile page with the list of blogs you follow. But I did not see your own blog name there to link to your home. Not sure what the fix would be!


  6. Others have already spoken about the beauty of the flow, and perhaps the courage to expand upon P.K. Page’s theme – moving from an expression of love for the planet to a movement of the thematic balance towards a subtle indictment of humanity’s thoughtless actions. Beyond this, only the courageous, or those who have already written glosas, would attempt such an experiment, and even at just this level, I admire this work. I wish I’d had that conceit, a glosa based on a glosa, a chain of inspiration and honor from Neruda to Page to the present poet. I was so glad to have discussed this with you, because I was able to see more of your motivation and the thought behind your craft – the selection of lines for the cabeza, the more structured meter, the positional change of the borrowed lines to the first part of the stanzas – all inventive, and all carried out with a flourish. Bravo!


  7. Miriam E. says:

    oh, this is marvellous! your experiment worked out beautifully – and all in pentameter… i am mightily impressed! beautiful and powerful. i bow to you.


  8. kaykuala says:

    1.There was a little problem, Ma’am.Apologies! Here it is! http://imagery77.blogspot.com/2013/05/birds_8197.html

    2.It will take time and effort
    to redress the balance of our silly actions
    so that we no longer live in dread
    of devastation,
    That is true Viv! The tragedy of it is we only get to know of the seriousness when the situation is already bad. Great thoughts!



  9. rmp says:

    I like the variation on the form. each verse works so perfectly; you express your message beautifully. it would be quite nice (no matter where one lives) to actually be able to see the stars shine up above.


  10. Rowan Taw says:

    You’ve written such an important message here, and it is such a unique take on the quatrain.


  11. Bravo for taking on a double challenge. That closing thought..live simple lives instead. And how we manage to complicate!


  12. seingraham says:

    I think you’ve done an amazing job here Viv…we’ve been such poor stewards of Mother Earth, haven’t we? And I really like what you did with the form; I was unfamiliar with this way of using the cabeza lines but think it works as well, as does the use of iambic pentameter…ambitious undertaking as well. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog earlier; I’m glad my poem touched you, that means a lot coming from you and I appreciate your kind words.


  13. hypercryptical says:

    A message well-penned.
    We will not heed the Earths warnings until it is to late to (at the very least ) slow down climate change. The rest we will carry on doing regardless, destroying our world for the sake of quick profit.
    I worry for future generations, of what they will inherit…

    Anna :o[


  14. claudia says:

    learning from all our errors and co-operating
    with our environment…yes…hopefully we will learn our lessons finally..i think a lot of things have changed for good already…but the climate change….not sure if we manage to stop it really…ugh..well penned


  15. Akila says:

    Wonderful msg here. A lot is attributed to self than play the blame game, A very unique way to handle the form. beginning with the thought to build it.


  16. brian miller says:

    co-create….what a great line that is…ugh in how we treat our planet as if it is not a consumable resource…and all the houses going up while others sit empty…so many animals dying each year never to be seen again…you rocked this one ma’am and gave a fresh slant on the form as well…strong enviro message…all for the simple life…


  17. Laurie Kolp says:

    So powerful and thought-provoking… a wonderful poem with a strong message, Viv. I like the borrowed lines at the beginning here, too.


  18. Very good Viv, impressed how you have developed the form, and writing all in pentameter. The content and the sentiment is certainly very important.
    Hats off to a great glosa. 🙂


  19. I agree with everything that you so beautifully formed into a winning poem 🙂


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