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Ballade on a Channel Crossing

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  • Ballade on a Channel Crossing

    In youth I crossed the Channel sea,
    To Dover from the port Calais.
    I mused upon the things to be,
    As of that age might be its way.
    Now looking back on it today,
    Then I was young and foolish brave,
    Bedazzled by the strange array
    Of all that's wrought by wind and wave.

    Upon the deck, I stood in lee,
    And grasped the rail so tight I may.
    The cold, sharp spray I drank with glee,
    Rode the swells, the rolling sway —
    A ship, a soul, a sea tossed fey,
    Not captain nor a galley slave,
    And my debts I might defray
    To all that's wrought by wind and wave.

    I dreamt a life was naught but free,
    Where music played and all was gay.
    But found me shackled by degree,
    No longer hunter but the prey,
    Entered upon unwanted fray,
    With premonitions of the grave.
    I grasp at last just what they say
    Of all that's wrought by wind and wave.


    Though sky and sea be inky gray,
    And though I list toward rock or cave,
    From out the west a bright'ning day,
    And all that's wrought by wind and wave.

  • #2
    Ahh - would we but clasp that sense of "foolish brave"ry forever... My 17 year-old has just recently returned home after a 2-week trip through Europe. The original plan was to fly into Brussels on March 22, the day of the latest attacks... but plans were quickly modified and he still went abroad 2 days later. Of course, as a parent, one worries. But, in the end, it is the duty of youth to pursue adventure, and explore the world to their fullest extent.

    I always so enjoy your work, John! Thank you for sharing another gem of a poem!


    • #3
      Thanks Piper, Are you ready to try Ballade yet? Remember you only get three rhymes.


      • pipersfancy
        pipersfancy commented
        Editing a comment
        Now that I have read yours, and looked up/reviewed the form on several reference sites, yes - I do believe my next undertaking shall be in the form of a Ballade!

    • #4
      Cool. Bet you have fun with it. All you need is three words that have lots of rhyme possibilities.


      • #5
        This... this is well-written! Not only does it have great rhyming but the rhythm is also amazing. On top of all that, it has a fascinating imagery and a certain life to it that includes both hope and wistfulness. If that weren't enough, it was also a ballade? It's hard to conform a poem of that length to a particular format without forcing something somewhere. (The only rhyme that felt even remotely forced was stanza 2, line 2.)

        I hate finding well-thought out poems that forget the rhythm of poetry--it always makes me feel awkward when commenting. So pieces like this are amazingly refreshing!

        Edit: And this only has 24 views? Good thing writing poetry is usually for the poet!
        Last edited by Merkavah; 04-27-2016, 04:27 AM.


        • #6
          Thanks for the kind words, Merkavah. Always surprised what people like. "Asheville" was my least favorite that I posted to the contest, but got the most views and likes. I agree, poetry should be metrical, otherwise write prose.


          • #7
            It's true that this deserves so much more attention than it has had; you are clearly a skilled and experienced poet. I love rhyme and rhythm, but like many others I am self taught, so I soak up advice like the reply you gave to Piper like a sponge and am constantly learning the patterns and restrictions of specific poem forms. I have never attempted a ballad, but that's a good starting point (to recognise the 3 crucial rhymes and start there), so when I next find time (if only!) I shall maybe have a go at a ballad and use yours as a template to learn from the master!
            Thank you, not only for sharing your poetry, but also for your encouragement of the rhyme-zone community as I so often see your name recurring on the site. In truth, the only thing that stops me commenting on your work is a humble acknowledgement that I am not experienced enough to comment or critique!


            • John Wertz
              John Wertz commented
              Editing a comment
              Hi Smee, Thanks for your kind words. You can find the Ballade form (related to rondeau) on the web. American Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote some neat ones. Good luck with it.