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First up, confession. I did not create the title of this blog. It is the ninth line of a famous poem by 19th century English poet and Jesuit priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Four more lines can be found below in my tribute to the Anglo-Canadian

PK Page, Canadian poet (1916-2010) from whom I first heard the word, glosa

PK Page, Canadian poet (1916-2010) whose book of glosas, Hologram, sat quietly on my shelf, brewing mischief.

campaign—with a few other countries swiftly joining—to #bringingbacktheglosa.

You can learn more about this bold resurrection of medieval verse at Greyhart Press and Gavriel’s Muse. At both of these sites, you can also read exceedingly kind words about Dead Edit Redo, my newly published novella of horror and good medicine, and Alain C. Dexter’s accompanying Dead to Rights: A Circularity of Glosas. These books are now available through Amazon and Smashwords, print and e-format.

Alain and I could think of no better way to celebrate the release of our new books than to collaborate on a new glosa. Such affairs are never solitary, and this one is no exception. Once you’ve read our books, you’ll understand how truly I mean that, and why I’ve posted a photograph of our beautiful Canadian poet, PK Page.

And now, without further ado, the glosa.

What I Do is Me: For That I Came

Bow swung finds to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells.

“As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame”
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)


When from the center of the flame I see my
name writ large by candle stroke too quick
to read, I turn from clarity to glance behind
where daimon paternoster with the googly
eyes to whom I’ve learned to genuflect
reflects his fleshy disapproval—what a game!
To think the back can read the front, or past
my future tell; to seek from others lost
in gloom a match for me, I must disclaim.
Bow swung finds to fling out broad its name.

The epoxy that we’ve learned to call
intelligence is swift to set; thus glued,
we cannot move toward bright and brighter
still. Instead, we dim with every misperception
of a sun that seems to disappear. We’re balls
of light, smooth casters, not one of us to blame.
But if you clank against me like a tinman with
no heart, I’ll roar, and I’d expect no less from
you if, thoughtless, I should cause you shame.
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same.

Selfish is as selfish does, the best of me
arrived intact in search of touch and taste
and feel to know what more of All There Is
I want. Obstructions have their place, but other
words that start with O have more appeal, like
octopus and org…an grinder, so if you, my bells
don’t ring, don’t call. I am no altar offering. I burnt
the book of martyrs at a barbecue, which gave
the ribs, I’m sad to say, a taste of sulphury hells.
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells

in his or her own pocketry of what feels good,
and this is good—might even be, it’s God! He/
She did not make of us a bleacher crowd of images
computerized, we are dynamic flow, so let the
process of success into your blood and bones
before you croak, which like the bullfrog tells
us from his pad will never be the last. I’m here
for me, for that I came, and you the same, for
you. Take happiness down from those high shelves!
Selves—goes itself, myself it speaks and spells.

© Elaine Stirling, 2013