The Ballad

The Ballad is a poem that is generally written with four lines in a stanza, and its rhyme scheme tends to be abab or abcb. The subject matter is often about love lost, things ghostly or events or social commentary. You don’t see the ballad in poems much these days but you can still find it in song, think of “Every Rose Has its Thorn”-Ballad just like something you’d hear around the table in 17th century England. Anyway…
I’ve made an attempt at writing a couple of ballads trying to keep with the themes and the rhyme, as far as meter; I’m terrible at it, but sometimes accidents can happen.

When at the Cafe Don’t Look at Him

No one talks to him
he is a lonely man
sitting in the coffee shop
a coffee in his hand

Poised for conversation
He stares with eager eyes
hoping to make contact
with any passer by

He really has a lot to say
the words rest on his lips
if only one would chat to him
he lifts his cup to sip

When he walks he tippy toes
his sharp nose pointing out
his bones are bent and crooked
but his heart is full and round

He comes here every morning
to sit among the crowed
His longing it is palpable
uncomfortably shifting down

The problem: he’s not normal
not quite right in the head
you can tell by glancing at him
but careful, remember look straight ahead

No one has ever loved him
he’s never been adored
people treat him like he’s dead
Invisible and ignored

He doesn’t grasp these feelings
neglect already ate his brain
He was laughed and left by children
As adults it is the same

His head is knotted and scoured
like custard scraped from a cup
if you did get caught in conversation
he’d forget you as you got up

In a way he is lucky
sitting here alone
like a bird perched on a chip
an old king upon his throne

It is us who feel his sadness
to his loneliness we are prone
it hurts our heart to view him
A projection all our own.

Many of the old ballads were about women loosing their loves or sons at sea, some great loss where they wish to toss their bodies to the vast oceans and join their love or they call to the world to help them mourn. Following that tradition I wrote this one like a love calling to another that is long away never to return.

When Love No Longer Visits

This time it is truly over
This time it is the end
There will be no beginning
no more letters will I send

The heart’s been broke completely
There are no pieces left to toss
There will never be walks in parks
All love of future lost

2 thoughts on “The Ballad

  1. Love the first ballad; I felt like I was watching the narrator, who is avoiding him at first. Then, in the final stanzas, I realized I avoid him too, and the twist of projecting my own hurt on a nearly/mostly blank mind… haunting. Sticking with me.

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