“Gather  quickly
out of darkness
all the songs you know
and throw them at the sun”
~Bouquet by Langston Hughes

Where have all the children gone?
gone off to chase
rainbows and dreams
with sunshine and innocence
to where nightmares grip
the unwary
one can only wish
he could hold more than his breath
as clouds, dark and heavy,
gather quickly.

What to do?
What to do?
Wring one’s hands?
Stand immobile and watch
with hearts pounding
as children, without harness,
get closer, like lambs,
to their slaughter.
Pray – “Deliver them, Your Highness,
out of darkness.

Nagging doubts eat the soul
“should the children have been kept
under sheltering wings?”  for how long?
should the bitter cups be taken away
that they not drink from it
Will that evil go –
Away! With guilt and fear
turning to despair
But…. NO!
Sing all the songs you know

gladden their hearts
make them brave, make them strong
that they will rise whenever they fall
they cannot live
while they cower
Dance! with abandon
with each breath
gather the laurels, gather the nails
gather the roses, gather the thorns
and throw them at the sun.


The Pub’s Form this week is the GLOSA.

“The glosa is a form of poetry from the late 14th century and was popular in the Spanish court.
The introduction, the cabeza, is a quatrain quoting a well-known poem or poet.
The second part is the glosa proper, expanding on the theme of the cabeza, consisting of four ten-line stanzas, with the lines of the cabeza used to conclude each stanza.
Lines six and nine must rhyme with the borrowed tenth.
There are no rules governing meter and line length, except that traditionally, they emulate the style of the lines in the cabeza.” (Quoted from Dverse)

I literally had to make a map for this poem by making 4 groups with ten lines each, each line numbered 1 through 10. I filled the tenth line with the borrowed lines from Langston Hughes’ Bouquet. I filled each line one by one. As the lines got filled in, so did my hope that I would be able to ‘submit’ an assignment. Last week’s form was like Soduko – Hard mode. This one was like a difficult crossword. I felt relieved to be able to complete this piece (its merits or demerits notwithstanding 🙂 , just as I feel relieved and happy whenever I complete a word or number puzzle. Sam said that I might have fun writing a poem in this form. And I did. 🙂

Thanks for the prompt and the learning that goes with it, Sam and dVerse. 🙂

Oh, the idea for this poem came from reading this  Yahoo article about an Oklahoma mother searching for her daughter in the rubble left by the big tornado.

Thank you all for coming by and sharing the journey. 🙂 For more of the form and excellent submissions, please head on to the Pub.  It is a welcoming place. 🙂

12 thoughts on “FORM FOR ALL: THE GLOSA

  1. ha. i did the same map…that is how i approach form…you did well with it…first great choice…love langston hughes…and your expansion of it went well…its hard to have that balance w kids…knowing you will not always be there to protect them…you teach them and then its faith and prayer…ha…but if you teach them…

  2. I often find when forms incorporate repetition, marking off my page and writing in the repeating lines is quite useful. I didn’t number mine, but put asterisks on the lines that needed to rhyme.

    this is a beautiful and touching piece. while not completely certain until you mentioned it in your closing, I felt a connection with this piece and the evil tornado.

  3. I sensed it was related to the Oklahoma tragedy… Your poetry ranges form the simplest of forms to the most intricate as this is…. You are an wonderful poet….Diane

  4. As a parent, I love the message ~ It is always a challenge to keep back the darkness and bitterness from children ~ But the best we can do is make them brave, make them strong so they are able to rise after every fall ~

    Good work on the form, which is like a puzzle to me too but fun to do ~

    Wishing you happy weekend Imelda ~


  5. Langston Hughes is a master of taking very personal narratives and turning them into anthems for a generation, with themes that transcend the individual. And here, you’ve done the same, taking the tragedy of one mother’s search into a keening for the world. That turn is difficult, and more difficult to do intuitively as you’ve done here. Beautiful craftsmanship.

  6. this is beautifully crafted. one can feel the desperation in the first three stanzas, the despair, the fear… and then, you warp it up beautifully – the last stanza (especially the last three lines)… perfect. a real pleasure to read.

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