Ballad Poems & Ballad Poetry
Ballad poetry tells a story. In rhyme. While many sophisticates have distain for rhyme, they probably have enjoyed a few ballad poems in their time. It turns out that rhyme is a mainstay of the human condition. Translation: we love rhymes! We love them as children, and as human beings of any age. We enjoy the satisfaction of a good story told to a well-turned rhyme, and that is exactly what a ballad poem is!
The history of Ballad Poetry. Before the Internet (way, way before the Internet), before Gutenberg and the life-changing printing press, stories were passed down from one generation to the next by way of ballad poetry.
In the Middle Ages, wandering Minstrels (singing poets), traveled through Europe, performing their stories and songs at castles and villages. The ballads were generally composed of four-line stanzas, as you will see in the examples below.
Ballad Poem/Ballad Poetry Example #1. The first ballad poem on this page is an original that I wrote sometime in the early 70s, after being influenced by a book, Poems that Live Forever. It's a hardcover book, filled with ballad poems and ballad poetry, that still sits on my bookshelf. The cost on the book flap is $4.95, giving you a clue about how old this book is. (It kind of dates me as well!)
This piece of ballad poetry is either tragic or humorous, depending on which stanza you care to end it with. Even in the 70s, I wrote two choices for the end. Today I choose humor. I guess that I've become less and less sophisticated with age. : ) But I've included the alternative end, in case you prefer a tragic ballad poem.
The illustration for this ballad poem is courtesy of
StuffedAnimals.com™ . Please keep in mind that I wrote this poem a long, long time ago.
The Last Request
She looked to his eyes
She gazed at the captain,
When Mc Hagerty noticed
He challenged the captain
Ah, but the captain
The night passed quite quickly.
"Do I have one request
He lifted his hand
by Denise Rodgers
He lifted his hand
Doesn't say much for "true love," y'think?
Ballad Poetry/Ballad Poem Example #2. The next ballad poem is another creation from my earlier years, when I was apparently more into ballad poetry. It is aptly named Space Cows and Green Cheese. The art is courtesy of StuffedAnimals.com™
This piece of ballad poetry is on the long side. Believe it or not, it was greatly reduced during editing. Grab a piece of chocolate (or cheese) and enjoy this ballad poem.
A plastic transistor, a surfboard for wings,
When Oliver showed both his parents his ship
Oliver’s moon rocket sputtered and roared.
Oliver hurtled and zoomed toward the moon,
The lunar sky darkened, a dismal, black freeze,
He held out a hand to help Ollie step down,
There were cows on the sidewalks and cows on the street
They were grazing and mooing and walking with bells,
The building was mammoth, and filled with huge vats.
The cheese in one section was Cheddar and Brie.
We have fresh Provolone. We have Gouda and Feta.
“We make Mozzarella, and what did I miss?
The moon man said, “Ollie, you’re not in a muddle.
"And just one more thing . . .”
The shuttle took off with a rumbling blast.
His parents were happy and gave him a hug.
They thought it the best they had tasted by far.
The cheese that is made on the side that is dark
How the shuttle trip home zoomed incredibly fast
Ollie looked up from his Swiss cheese soufflé.
His mom heaved a sigh and his dad heaved one too.
by Denise Rodgers
Writing a Ballad Poem or Ballad Poetry. By now you probably have the idea that ballads, or ballad poetry, are poems or songs that tell a story in rhyme. If you'd like to write a ballad poem of your own, my suggestion to you would be to start with the story BEFORE you attempt to commit it to verse. If you let the rhyme take control of your ballad poem, you will soon be unfamiliar with the story that comes out the end of your pencil (or through your keyboard). It might take some time, but it's worth the effort. Don't stop working on it until you've completed a piece of ballad poetry you can call your own. And don't forget to share your ballad poem with others. They will generally get a real kick out of it. (At least that's been my experience.) Happy writing!!!
If you've enjoyed the Ballad Poetry and Ballad Poems on this page