Poetry on Demand: Glosas for our Kickstarter Backers

As our Kickstarter campaigns nears the halfway point, we would like to thank our backers (thank you!) so far and provide a sampling of what backing The Quilliad‘s fifth-issue Kickstarter gets you.

One of our favourite Kickstarter rewards is the poetry-on-demand option. The way this works is simple: in addition to the copies of our journal and art prints that may be part of your Kickstarter package, we write you a poem on whatever topic you chose. We have posted many of our previous Kickstarter poems on this blog as well as on our Tidbits page. While the haiku format is well known, the glosa is less common. The type of glosa we write involves four stanzas, each ten lines long. The tenth line of each stanza is from a four-line quoted passage–this can be a quotation from another poem, a song–really anything that works. The sixth and ninth lines of the stanza in question must rhyme with the quoted tenth line.

Here are some past backer-inspired examples:

All that Glitters
for Edith Varga

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold,
and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed,
with a word she can get what she came for.

                                                —Led Zeppelin

In a house she’s had for twenty years
with not a guest for ten,
with a hoard of family heirlooms
in a closet beneath the stairs,
with a Ziploc of rolled bills
from the beer bottles she’s sold,
with not a child to lend to
or pet to spend a penny on,
and not a hand to hold,
There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold.

She’s got great granny’s earrings
boxed, to polish once a year,
and every 365 days,
she holds them to her ears.
She saves the cream and sugar
from the nearby 7-11
—she never buys a thing
she can sample, snatch, or mend.
It’s never been enough for her to break even,
and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

She keeps her notes on what she’s worth
in a notebook brown with age
and signs away her soul to greed
with each ink blot on each page.
She loves it if it sparkles.
She loves it if it glows.
It’s the only form of happiness
her withered old heart knows.
And As Sure As Jesus Rose,
when she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed,

Like a pharaoh she will summon
all her riches, and her thrift
will have put on a retainer
servants to serve in shifts.
As she floats above the clouds
like Cleopatra, queen of yore,
(Maybe she’ll meet the Egyptian—
she’s earned the right, you know.)
She’s certain when she reaches heaven’s golden doors,
with a word she can get what she came for.

Telemachus
for Jamey MacIsaac

That which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

                                                —Alfred, Lord Tennyson

An idle moment, where our king gazes
Out his window towards a sea
That his eye never reaches
Falling instead on a lone wagon
He tries to discern by the shape
If it is his own person, or stranger.
His unfinished query halted
By the call to remember a great king
In the voice of an advisor,
“…that which we are, we are.”

The king digests the old words
Of his old father, a man he knew
only as well as the information
he was able to gather from others.
“Yes that which we are, we are
But we become more, the restart
Of a life as common as wars on borders
A stranger becomes citizen, becomes patriot,
Becomes soldier, decides he too guards
the one equal temper of heroic hearts

And dies in another foreign land—
Perhaps even in the village that bore him.”
Telemachus sighs, and eyes the council,
Questions if they see in him some
Resemblance to his father. Not in character,
Perhaps more so in the realm of the physical.
Telemachus cannot recall the looks
Of his father, if his nose was crooked or hooked.
The only sentiment remembered still
“Is of a man made weak by time and fate, but strong in will.

A will that I do not share, though admire
In the sense one might approve a piece of art:
Life-like and beautiful but, perhaps regrettably,
not attainable. I do not grasp for stars but
polish stones that have been worn down underfoot.
I need no more lands, and have no wishes for battlefields.
‘Half the council is satisfied, the other half grave—’
It is the duty of kings to pursue greatness, to pursue riches.
Telemachus returns to the window, “that is only one ideal—
There are other ways to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

—Steph Chaves

This issue, if you select the $75 or higher backer option, we’ll even publish the poem we write for you! What better way to become a patron of the arts than to inspire us to create some poetry? If you are interested in backing The Quilliad, check out our Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765917797/the-quilliad-issue-5

Thanks for reading.

Sarah

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