Whittled Words – Glosa Poem

Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




The glosa (or glose) is an interesting Spanish form that reminds me a bit of the golden shovel or cento. The basic premise is that you quote four lines of poetry as an epigraph from another poem or poet. These four lines act as a refrain in the final line of the four stanzas written by the poet. So, the first line of the epigraph would be the final line of the first stanza, the second line ends the second stanza, etc.

The most common convention is for each of these stanzas to be ten lines in length. There are no other hard and fast rules for rhymes or syllables, though line length is usually consistent within the poem (so the epigraph kind of sets the line length). I have shared examples with rhyme scheme and without for reference.


Examples of Glosa Poems:



by Robert Lee Brewer



“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.



By Brad Osborne



You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


Maya Angelou – “Still I Rise” (Sixth stanza)



I am not one to be held down

I stand upon the firmest ground

A strong back may be my only gift

To stand erect as judgements shift

What joy is brought smaller minds

When wicked ways are all they find

Shout all you want if you can’t stop

Shout them from the mountain top

I choose them to remain unheard

You may shoot me with your words


An armored skin I wear with pride

The protection to what lies inside

And the little words about my life

Will not cause me any strife

They fall on wanting ears so deaf

Where honesty remains bereft

The words you speak serve only you

A tragic trap of an ego sadly blue

Though you will never apologize

You may cut me with your eyes


I arise reborn in each new day

Strengthened by all that you say

And find the power inside myself

A sense of me, my greatest wealth

Repeated stress makes bones strong

It is only your game if I play along

And, yet, inside my own mind

Is a real sadness for you I find

For such a life in the words confess

You may kill me with your hatefulness


Untethered and uncompromised

I live a life that you want denied

The barbs and burrs that you spew

Are not given a life within my view

You may feel however you feel

But I have always known my own real

And there amongst your spurning lies

In the midst, of your petulant cries

I shine a love that your hate defies

But still, like air, I’ll rise.


I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Glosa poem. Thanks for reading!


24 Responses to “Whittled Words – Glosa Poem”
  1. Wow! The power of your words was impressive; using the lines from another poem incorporated into yours was freaking amazing! I loved it!

  2. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    More than enjoyed it, it was a thrilling ride. Your words, my friend, are powerful and the poem you have written as a sample of this stile is superb! Intensity, beauty, commitment, and artistic sensibility define this work for me. Great work!

  3. DC Gilbert says:

    Very well done, Brad. I like learning about all the different poetry forms, and this poem of yours is compelling and inspiring. Great job!

    I am curious, have you ever read the old Anglo-Saxon poem, The Dream of the Rood. We studied it in an Olde English Literature course I took many years ago. If I remember correctly, it is one of the earliest written “dream” poems dating back to the 8th Century. Several lines are found on The Ruthwell Cross.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      I have read it. It is a beautifully alliterative description of the crucifixion. I ran upon it in the Vercelli Book, which I know was dated to 10th century, but was unaware that lines were referenced on something older. Unfortunately, as beautiful as it is, I can never cover it here. It is somewhat formless as scholars still argue over the structure. The Olde English Poetic Codices hold a wealth of beautiful words. Thanks for your question and your kind words!

  4. Harley Reborn says:

    Sometimes I just wanna curl up into your lap and have you read me these while I fall asleep. The whittled words are always so cozy!

  5. yassy says:


  6. gldn2th says:

    Thank goodness for your teaching us here on Whittled Words else I would be totally lost.
    Poetry is more complicated than rocket science!
    As per your usual, well done. Whittled Words is one of the more enjoyable learning experiences on wordpress. Thank you for your hard work.

  7. Jim Borden says:

    that was wonderful; it was like treating Maya’s poem as an outline, and then expanding on each of those lines. Well done, Brad!

  8. kristianw84 says:

    I just love this!! So well done!

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thanks beautiful! I appreciate you. Hope you are both well and I assume your are indulging in something pumpkin spice related in celebration of the season…🎃

      • kristianw84 says:

        🥰🥰🥰 You know me so well! I haven’t gone completely vegan or vegetarian, but without even really planning it I am eating mostly plant based foods. I eat very clean, whole/super foods. Anyway, I was so happy when I found out a local cafe makes all of their latter’s with almond milk, so I’ve had at least 4 pumpkin chai lattes already. Next on the list is apple cider!! I hope you are doing well. I’ve been thinking about you. I need to be better about checking in more often. 🎃🧡🍂

      • Brad Osborne says:

        I could be better at staying in touch, too. No worries, I am always here! Sending best wishes and much love!

      • kristianw84 says:

        Much love back to you. 😘😘

  9. Quite some formats I still have to try

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