Natalie Stear

    Retired English teacher


    In her submission of this poem Natalie wrote as follows:

    The Glosa form of poetry might be of interest to English teachers (merely to inform about the existence of such a poetic form).  I tried my hand at writing one and it was a fascinating exercise.It was used by the poets of the Spanish court, dating back to the 14th and early 15th centuries.  The poet, P.K. Page, enjoys using this form. 


    [The poet, P.K. Page, describes the glosa thus:  “The opening quatrain, written by another poet, is followed by four ten-line stanzas, their concluding lines taken consecutively from the quatrain; their sixth and ninth lines rhyming with the borrowed tenth.  Used by the poets of the Spanish court, the form dates back to the late 14th and early 15th century.”]


        “Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;

        Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;

        Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:

        The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.”  

        (The Princess, vii: Alfred, Lord Tennyson)


    The prison casts its turret shadow long,

    Beyond the walls that guard its ancient keep.

    A stranger stops to contemplate the gloom,

    Then hastens past the tower t’wards his home.

    Unseen, fair Danaë watches from the grille –

    Scans the red sky in softly waning light.

    A nightjar fluffs its feathers on the bough;

    Shifts from its roost to greet the twilight hour.

    Now sinks the sun to herald in the night;

    Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white.


    Now slips away the zephyr from the glade.

    No ripple stirs the pond within the close;

    Nor in the palace precincts can be heard

    The muted hooting of the evening bird.

    No passer-by breathes in the scented rose.

    And in the stillness of the wooded park

    Entwining branches spread their leafy shade.

    Wistaria droops from ghostly colonnade –

    No flutter from its blossoms on the stalk;

    Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk.


    No welcome light pervades the iron bars,

    Save heaven’s off’ring in the distant stars –

    The firmament too far – the beams too faint.

    Unhappy maid turns to her narrow bed

    To seek the arms of Morpheus, mortal’s friend.

    In wistful dreams, bold lovers come to haunt

    The sleeping damsel on her restless couch.

    Like ghosts they go, no comfort in their touch;

    Nor gleams the moon its dreamer to enchant;

    Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font.


    A lightning streak! No watchers to behold

    The silent meteor in shining gold

    That showers the sleeping Danaë with its gleam.

    The voice of Zeus penetrates her dream:

    Draw closer, lovely maid; I’ve chosen thee;

    A myriad stars embrace thee – sleep must flee.

    Thy name throughout the ages will be blessed.

    Our valiant son will suckle at thy breast.

    My shimmering cloak enfolds thee; sets thee free.

    The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.







    Categories: Volume 3