Hollow Men - Glosa

by Larry Chamberlin   Feb 12, 2012

"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!"
- from The Hollow Men, T. S. Elliot (1925)

In a world of mediocrity
a true individual will shine
like a beacon onto the sea
visible for all ships to see.
Only those who eschew "mine"
stake their own place, then
they stand dry and free
not at mercy to the brine;
but those of us who do not ken:
we are the hollow men.

Be one of fierce demeanor
fill your deeds with intent;
every action, whet it keener,
false desire ever leaner;
strive 'til your soul is spent;
for should you not, when
lured to pastures greener
losing hope for all you meant
you will hear a bleating din:
"We are the stuffed men."

Don't count on any friend
who'd flatter and charm,
only to help you descend,
humanity merely pretend,
or in crises you are disarmed
hurled into roughest weather
lacking force, all hope expend
with worthless ally arm-in-arm
tossed like birds lacking feather,
leaning together.

Stand with purpose, stay resolved
be no one's momentary fad;
true pain will be involved
but so with all that ever evolved;
live with a reason, for good or bad,
mindless pleasure surpass;
all failures in trying are absolved
it is failure to attempt that's mad
for such a man sinks in morass
headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

"The Glosa was used by poets of the Spanish court and dates back to the late 14th and early 15th century. .... the traditional structure has two parts. The first part is called the texte or cabeza. It consists of the first few lines (usually four) or the first stanza (usually a quatrain) from a well-known poem or poet. ....

"The second part is the glose or glosa proper. This is a "gloss on," an expansion, interpretation or explanation of the texte. The formal rule describes the glosa as consisting of four ten-line stanzas, with the consecutive lines of the texte being used as the tenth line (called the glossing) of each stanza. Furthermore, lines six and nine must rhyme with the borrowed tenth. Internal features such as length of lines, meter and rhyme are at the discretion of the poet. ...."
[Retrieved 12 February 2012 from http://www.poetry-nut.com/glosa_poetry.htm]

In my effort, the rhyme scheme for each stanza is:

a, b, a, a, b, c, a, b, c, C (being the glossing line).

*Note on Copyright & Glosa Verse: The cabeza falls under the Fair Use Doctrine, while the poem as a whole is a Derivative Work of the original, thereby exempt under two exceptions to copyright law.


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Latest Comments

  • 6 years ago

    by Lostlove1

    Congratulations Larry on your win!! Well deserved. I loved this form...you have done it to perfection. It is impossible to pinpoint my favorite part of it-as the whole poem shines beautifully in every way. Be proud Larry, of this poem chock full of wisdom throughout each line. Very much enjoyed. WRITE ON my friend. :) Great job.

  • 6 years ago

    by Rihanna

    Excellent poem..

  • 6 years ago

    by christopher

    Well done larry great poem. structured brilliantly and rhyming coherently but the flow of this poem impressed. a rhythm of of perfect timing you achieved with this poem and in no doubt deserved the win. well done again.

  • 6 years ago

    by CuteThingsGoneWrong

    Jeez. And from what i can tell this is Amazing. I don't understand how you did that and i wont ask. Now im tasked with commenting on this huh? Ohh jeez.

    the way you did it..> Was amazing I see the rhyming very well and it didnt take away from the poem (Hard to do with something thats already so difficult)

    I love the flow of the poem, It was near perfect for what you were trying to do. Now i think the few bumps when i was reading it was my own personal faults... but there were a few (like two that im having issues finding so its probably just me *sigh)

    I feel like this form is very hard to do without it getting to WORDY, you did very well on that aspect, it still feels like a poem.

    Also i like overall mood that i get when i read it. Its hard to describe it perfectly. WHen reading it, its complex enough that i look deeply into what you wrote and i really understand what it meant...

    I could go on and on..

    But pretty much all im saying is you got a 5/5 :3

  • 6 years ago

    by Karla

    Larry - this piece is superb.