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.