The Gloss Poem and Jacqueline Williams

Walking by Inner Vision…presents:

I am so happy to present a poet who lives in Arizona today!



Our FIRST GUEST BLOG is by Arizona writer,  Jacqueline  Williams

Jacqueline says,

” I enter the NFSPS annual contest every year  and the past two years, my favorite form, the Gloss (sponsored by Mississippi) no longer appeared  as a category.

I keep writing them for I love this form for very personal reasons.

I was enticed by some quatrains written by special people in my life. Once conquering this form, I found myself on the constant lookout for those written by famous poets. Therefore, it became an educational tool.

When I lost my sight, I needed a tight structure to help me learn to use a screen reader and organize my thoughts. It required me to learn meter and syllable counts, natural rhyming enhanced by enjambment to make a poem like this jell.

It is a way of honoring a favorite poet while taking the challenge of expanding on their original thought. So here, I honor, first, my mother, Donnafred Hoff, deceased, a well-known Arizona poet, and secondly Ogden Nash, whose humor I have always been a captive of.


Jacqueline introduces to my readers, The GLOSS FORM…

This exciting poetic form is an  expansion of a well-known poet’s quatrain in iambic tetrameter or iambic pentameter.


This quatrain, the text, must be given as an epigraph under the title of one’s poem, along with the title of the poem it is from and the name of the poet who wrote it.

Following are four sextet stanzas, 24 lines, each stanza beginning with a line from the text, with four original lines added in a rhyme scheme of one’s choosing, and closing with the same line from the text.



Who is Keeping Track of Time

The birds fly west; the sunset fades.

The moon begins her nightly climb.

The world is busy at charades

and who is keeping track of time.


The Birds Fly West  donnafred

The birds fly west; the sunset fades.

Through clouds, a lone star slowly wades,

and what will Heaven do this night—

Shed tears on lovers, holding tight?

The night owls screech as light degrades.

The birds fly west; the sunset fades.

The moon begins her nightly climb.

At midnight, somewhere, bells will chime.

In peaceful places, night brings sleep.

Volcanos, earthquakes—all will weep.

No matter what, we know through time—

the moon begins her nightly climb.

The world is busy at charades.

Some lie, some steal, some join parades.

Some hold their children, live in fright.

Wars come and go and some must fight.

While reptiles creep in forest glades,

the world is busy at charades

and who is keeping track of time?

For me and mine, it is a crime

to turn our backs on heating world.

We march together, flags unfurled.

Is it too late to save our clime,

and who is keeping track of time?


by Jacqueline Williams, second place winner, NFB, 2014









All photos of Arizona landscapes by Lynda McKinney Lambert


Appetites Gone Wild

Some primal termite knocked on wood,

And tasted it and found it good,

And that is why your cousin May

Fell through the parlor floor today.

                 The Termite by Ogden Nash

Some primal termite knocked on wood.

I do not think he understood—

that diet was not meant for him

though it would fill the interim.

In  our resistant neighborhood

some primal termite knocked on wood,

and tasted it and found it good.

With treated wood, no way he should

indulge his starving appetite.

For ten long months, bite after bite,

he did, he thrived—misunderstood—

and tasted it and found it good.

And that is why your cousin May

was eating chocolate, curds and whey,

while Uncle George, and neighbors—all—

danced to a jig and down the hall.

But she kept eating, would not weigh,

and that is why your cousin May

fell through the parlor floor today.

She hurt her back and had her say,

but termites chomped in some new place.

May could not find them—not a trace.

She moved her chair to wood parquet—

fell through the parlor floor today.


 Copyright. Jacqueline Williams. All Rights Reserved.            

First Place (Humor), League of Minnesota, 2013


More about Jacqueline Williams:

Jacqueline Williams is a retired educator and active writer, mostly poetry, from Mesa, AZ. With her husband and three young boys, she spent five years in Uganda, East Africa. She travelled through Greece, England, Italy, Spain, the Balearic Islands, France, Austria, and Germany. Before returning to the U.S., she climbed the “Mountains of the Moon, finally looking down on the Congo from above the Speke Glacier.

Jacqueline  completed her Masters in Special Education at Arizona State University;  taught at San Carlos Reservation Special Education for two years. Jacqueline  was head teacher, Chairman of Special Education and teacher of learning disabled and gifted students at Keller Elementary School in Mesa, and finally took early retirement when she became dance coordinator for the African-American dance teacher, Arthur Hall. He spent many years teaching at the elementary schools in Mesa.


Poetry is her primary passion.

Jacqueline  has three books in development:

“Lizard in the Bean Sauce,” a memoir of the five years she lived  in Africa. Her writing including the coup installing Idi Amin.

“In Search of Adam Scott” is  about her 20-year-old son who disappeared in the Superstition  Mountains.

“Run, Quail, Run!” is a mixed genre of poetry and a narrative of her journey into an exciting and doomed relationship ending in violence.   


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4 thoughts on “The Gloss Poem and Jacqueline Williams

  1. Thank you Donna for your reflections on the poem form and the poems. I also love how she honored her mother’s work by suing her words in this way. I love to learn new things from my fellow writers. I am so thankful Jackie shared her work with us all.

  2. I’d never heard of this form before and enjoy these examples very much. The one on the termites, based on Nash’s poem, with Jackie’s inclusion of thoughts on treated wood is a riot. I am also struck by what a wonderful method for honoring her mother the form is. To take your mother’s work and expand upon it, well that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I found references to Donnafred Hoff on this page. I have a painting of hers from the 1950s. I see this Donnafred was living in Arizona. Did she once live in Western New York? If so, I have an abstract painting of hers and would be glad to give it to a relative or admirer. Thanks.

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