Writing 201: Hero(ine)

Ballads are the style du jour, and here’s mine, based loosely around that narrative poem I wrote for Miss Tadpole (which, incidentally, also qualifies as a ballad, but which I thought much too long to reprint here):

The Ballad of Queen Jeverlain

Anná Artwork by Hazel Butler

Artwork by Hazel Butler

A long time ago
In a land far away,
The Queen of the Sea
Turned a prince into clay.

The queen loved his father
With all of her heart,
And when he rejected her,
The queen fell apart.

Consumed by her hatred,
She started to plot
Her revenge on the king.
She had only one shot –

Only one chance –
To make the man pay.
So she studied and planned
And selected a day

To enact her grand scheme.
But when that day came,
The king arrived not alone
And the queen filled with shame

For now there were two
Who would suffer her wrath,
Now there were two –
‘Twould be a bloodbath,

For she could not very well
Let the prince live.
He would hunt her until
She’d been taken captive,

And that would not do.
Her plan must be modified,
For she had no wish
To end up crucified.

To injure the king,
She would take what he loved
So that he would know
The pain she had shoved

Out of her mind every day
With nary a hope
Of easing her burdens
Or ceasing to mope.

But she failed in her quest
To punish the king,
For as soon as her curse
At the prince she did fling,

His father jumped
In between,
An act the old woman
Hadn’t foreseen.

Nor had she dreamt
That her own darling child
Would see the prince and
Be hopelessly beguiled.

So distraught the queen’s daughter
Was at the sight
Of her one true love
Cut down with such spite

That she turned on her mother
With a heartbroken shriek,
And the old woman collapsed
In the mud in the street.

The girl scooped up her love
And cradled him close,
Her tears landing right
On the end of his nose.

She cast every countercurse
She’d ever heard,
But despite all her efforts,
He spoke not a word.

Away to her home
In the woods she did fly;
She cast spell after spell
And there, by and by,

It became clear to her that
She had failed in her task,
That the visage she loved
Was now just a mask.

Her heart crushed again,
Now her mind fled as well,
As if she had fallen
Under some sort of spell.

She kept to her cottage
And saw not a soul,
Singing instead
To the woods of her woe.

They say if you travel
The woods on a night
When the sky is dark
And the moon is quite bright,

A sad little tune
Will drift by on the breeze
From a lonely old meadow
Set back in the trees,

For the poor woman’s soul
Still longs to discover
A potion or spell to
Restore her lost lover.


I think this lost a little bit of its power when I condensed it, but even so, it’s still quite long – the original story is almost 2,000 words, and I thought that was much too long to post; this is plenty long as it is.  What do you think of it?  And what are some of your favorite ballads?

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Writing 201: Hero(ine)

    • Kay Kauffman says:

      Thanks! Miss Tadpole loved the longer version of this, and since I’m not too great with the rhymes, I was pretty proud of it, too. I haven’t made up my mind yet about this version – there’s no doubt about it, rhyming is hard.

      If only I had a great gift for rhyme, like some giants. 🙂


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