1) The form opens with a four line stanza which traditionally is a quote from another well-known poet. Over time it has become permissible to use less well known poets or even your own poems. This section is known as the texte or cabeza.

2) The rest of the poem is made of 4 ten line stanzas. The last line of each stanza is a line from the first stanza in consecutive order.

3) The sixth and ninth lines of each stanza should rhyme with the tenth line.

4) The main body of the poem (the ten line stanzas) are a gloss on (hence the name of the form) the contents of the opening four line verse. Choices of 4 lines. Can be any 4 lines, not necessarily in sequence (apparently)


My choice of 4 lines are taken from

Leonard Cohen’s Poem I’d like to read.

One of the poems

that drove me into poetry

I can’t remember one line

or where to look

by Leonard Cohen


The following is my glosa poem.


Wishing on a Poem.  

You  say “I wish” 

and wait

while conjuring  images

into daydream and night visions

awake actually,

deep in sleeping bone…

your tongue wrapped

tight around those words,

and in moments fossilize into

One of the poems.


Or, is my tongue-tied

eyes shuttered, looking for this elegy?

Arriving (ironically) into my own

self-awakened consciousness

in the hunt for

metaphor or simile

for complete thought,

written in whatever language on

handmade paper; perhaps fifteenth century

that drove me into poetry.


Where, at long last

a God or Goddess decides

with benevolence and mercy to

release our words in electric storm.

When all planets align

urging Earth to turn on a dime.

Consonants and vowels enter, race wildly 

through the tips of my fingers first, then every nerve

and sacred place so complete and sublime that

I can’t remember one line


Was it because you only wished

…never meaning to articulate

with tongue or pen?

Slipping through the fingers of the plot

in a motion picture or book

created by some well-known genius,

about the mute and the blind one

on worlds that shook,

causing them to forget

or where to look.


by PEvM-Bainbridge