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Passions in Poetry

Tricky little exercise...

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AlCowie
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since 05-13-2011
Posts 90
London, UK


0 posted 05-16-2011 07:07 AM       View Profile for AlCowie   Email AlCowie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit AlCowie's Home Page   View IP for AlCowie

A favourite comic poem of mine is "The Ballad of William Bloat"

I don't know if the form has been offered here as a workshop idea (and I don't know poetic lexicon, so I don't have a clue what this is called or how to describe it), but I'd be thrilled to read what can be come up with within this form (min 2 stanzas?).

It does seem a little tricky, I am struggling with my own attempt, I will post it when I have something presentable...

(Also, if someone would be so kind as to describe this, that would be superb, I'd like to learn the language too!)

d'd'Dum d'DAY, d'd'Dum d'DAY,
d'd'Dum d'Dum d'BEE(d'),
d'd'Dum d'CO, d'd'Dum d'CO,
d'd'Dum d'Dum d'BEE(d'),
d'd'Dum d'FU, d'd'Dum d'FU,
d'd'Dum d'Dum d'BEE(d'),

(The second, 4th and 6th lines don't seem to have a hard rule about the number of syllables)

AlCowie
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since 05-13-2011
Posts 90
London, UK


1 posted 05-16-2011 07:08 AM       View Profile for AlCowie   Email AlCowie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit AlCowie's Home Page   View IP for AlCowie

The Ballad Of William Bloat

In a mean abode on the Shankill Road
Lived a man called William Bloat
He had a wife, the curse of his life
Who continually got his goat.
So one day at dawn, with her nightdress on,
He cut her bloody throat.

With a razor gash he settled her hash,
There was never a crime so quick,
But the drip drip drip on the pillowslip
Of her lifeblood made him sick;
And the pool of gore on the bedroom floor
Grew clotted, cold and thick.

And yet he was glad that he'd done what he had
As she lay there stiff and still,
But a sudden awe of the angry Law
Struck his soul with an icy chill,
So to finish the fun so well begun,
He resolved himself to kill.

So he took the sheet off his wife's cold feet
And twisted it into a rope,
And he hanged himself from the pantry shelf,
‘Twas an easy end let's hope;
In the face of death with his latest breath,
He solemnly cursed the Pope.

But the strangest turn to the whole concern
Is only just beginning,
He went to Hell but his wife got well,
And she's alive and sinning,
For the razor blade was German made
But the sheet was Irish Linen

Anon
Dr.Moose1
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since 09-05-99
Posts 3505
Bewilderment , USA


2 posted 05-16-2011 08:54 AM       View Profile for Dr.Moose1   Email Dr.Moose1   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dr.Moose1

Al,
This appers to be a combination of Anapestic and Iambic feet.
"in a MEAN aBODE on the SHANkill ROAD
lived a MAN called WILLiam BLOAT"
Anapest, iamb, anapest, iamb,
anapest, iamb, iamb.
That being said, there are places where this established meter varies, perhaps this was intentional on the part of the author to break up the repetition, but I believe a more likely scenario was the folk origins of the piece. Also  take note of the authors strong use of internal rhyme and  alternating end rhyme. Though hey, I'm no expert.
Here's an attempt to duplicate the varying meter and rhyme as in the original piece, with the exception that I have changed the end rhyme of each stanza so instaed of rhyming with the fourth line, it is a stand alone rhyme to tie the three stanzas together.

Keep your wits there man, there's a lesson plan
that is set by Balladeer
With much great fuss he preaches to us
'til his point he has made quite clear
with finesse and skill and a masters' quill
he rules our little school

Though of late it's true there have been no new
class assignments to work on
You have revived this place that's no jive
so please pass the Gray Poupon
'cause it's time for lunch and I've got a hunch
I'm about to flippin' drool!

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a snack
of poetic potpourri
that's done in form that is not of the norm
as it mixes meters, see
as I've tried to show with this poem just so
you'll think the workshop's cool.

Doc

[This message has been edited by Dr.Moose1 (05-16-2011 11:26 AM).]

Balladeer
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3 posted 05-16-2011 07:47 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Very interesting, Gentlemen. I have something to say about both entries (of course!) Unfortunately, not the time right now but I'll be working on them.
Balladeer
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4 posted 05-16-2011 10:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

It's an interesting form, Al. I don't know that it has a specific name, which is not surprising since there is a wide variety of rhyme schemes with can be created by using the five poetic forms. I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of the construction. Let's take a closer look...

In a mean abode on the Shankill Road
Lived a man called William Bloat
He had a wife, the curse of his life
Who continually got his goat.
So one day at dawn, with her nightdress on,
He cut her bloody throat.

d'd'Dum d'DAY, d'd'Dum d'DAY,
d'd'Dum d'Dum d'BEE(d'),
d'd'Dum d'CO, d'd'Dum d'CO,
d'd'Dum d'Dum d'BEE(d'),
d'd'Dum d'FU, d'd'Dum d'FU,
d'd'Dum d'Dum d'BEE(d'),

Ok, that is your interpretation. I agree wholeheartedly with the first two lines. The third line, however, reads to me like...he HAD a WIFE, the CURSE of his life.
That would make it da DUM da DUM, da DUM da da DUM....three iambs and an anapest.

The fourth line reads as....who conTINually GOT his GOAT. Fifth line is good. Sixth line is ....he CUT her BLOODy THROAT...all iambic.

So, in conclusion, we have..

anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - iamb
iamb - iamb - iamb - anapest
anapest - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
iamb - iamb - iamb

An interesting construction. The first and fifth lines are actually thew only lines with the same rhyme scheme. One can write the first stanza anyway one wishes. The key is to make sure the folowing stanzas follow the same way. Let's take the second stanza...

With a RAzor GASH he SETtled her HASH.........anapest - iamb - iamb - anapest
There was NEVer a CRIME so QUICK...............anapest - anapest - iamb
But the DRIP drip DRIP on the PILlowSLIP..........anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
Of her LIFEblood MADE him SICK;...........,,,,...anapest - iamb - iamb
And the POOL of GORE on the BEDroom FLOOR...anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
Grew CLOTted, COLD and THICK.......................iamb - iamb - iamb

So, in comparison, we have..

1st lines
------------

anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - iamb - anapest

2nd lines
-------------

anapest - iamb - iamb
anapest - anapest - iamb

3rd lines
------------

iamb - iamb - iamb - anapest
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb

4th lines
-------------

snspest - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - iamb

5th lines
------------

anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb

6th lines
------------

iamb - iamb - iamb
iamb - iamb - iamb

As you can see the last two lines of both stanzas are right on the money. The other four, however, vary quite a bit, too much so to call it a standard form. I think it is a poem that works a lot better recited than read.

Balladeer
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5 posted 05-16-2011 10:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Keep your WITS there MAN, there's a LESson PLAN
that is SET by BALLaDEER
With MUCH great FUSS he PREACHes to US
'til his POINT he has MADE quite CLEAR
with finESSE and SKILL and a MASters' QUILL
he RULES our LITtle SCHOOL

Though of LATE it's TRUE there have BEEN no NEW
CLASS asSIGNments to WORK on
You HAVE reVIVED this PLACE that's no JIVE
so PLEASE pass the GRAY PoupON
'cause it's TIME for LUNCH and I've GOT a HUNCH
I'm aBOUT to FLIPpin' DROOL!

So sit BACK, reLAX, and enJOY a SNACK
of poETic POTpourRI
that's DONE in FORM that is NOT of the NORM
as it MIXes METers, SEE
as I've TRIED to SHOW with this POEM just SO
you'll THINK the WORKshop's COOL

1st lines
-------------

anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb

2nd lines
--------------

anapest - iamb - iamb
trochee - trochee - iamb
anapest - iamb - iamb

3rd lines
------------

iamb- iamb - iamb - anapest
iamb - iamb - iamb - anapest
iamb - iamb - anapest - anapest (one extra syllable)

4th lines
------------

anapest - anapest - iamb
iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - iamb

5th l ines
-------------

anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb
anapest - iamb - anapest - iamb

6th lines
---------------

iamb - iamb - iamb
iamb - iamb - iamb
iamb - iamb - iamb

Pretty darn good, Doc! There are a couple of obvious places where the meter breaks down but I think you will be able to see them upon review pretty easily. I would go so far as to say you probably didn't like them that much when you wrote them....just a guess.

Very good work, sir.
Dr.Moose1
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since 09-05-99
Posts 3505
Bewilderment , USA


6 posted 05-17-2011 06:49 AM       View Profile for Dr.Moose1   Email Dr.Moose1   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dr.Moose1

Balladeer,
Ah, the dreaded "Trochee", the downfall of many of my pieces. Perhaps we could do a more in depth study of their proper usage
so they don't keep sneaking into my poems and wreaking havoc. As for 3rd stanza 3rd line, I'm not getting that extra syllable, unless I ignore the contraction in "that's".
Maybe it's just me. Thanks for the critique as always m'friend.
Balladeer
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7 posted 05-17-2011 07:44 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

that's
done
in
form
that
is
not
of
the
norm
------
10

with
much
great
fuss
he
preach-
es
to
us
-------
9

you
have
re-
vived
this
place
that's
no
jive
-------
9

As far as the sneaky trochees, you kinda boxed yourself in where you have to use one.

Though of LATE it's TRUE there have BEEN no NEW
CLASS asSIGNments to WORK on

BY ending the previous line with an adjective and wrapping it to the next line, you force yourself to begin with a noun (or another adjective). You chose a noun, which most likely - and yes in this case - will carry an accent. Begin the line with an accented syllable and you get a trochee, or didactyl thingy  

How could you have prevented this? Two ways. Either do not end the previous line with the adjective...

Though of late it's true, there;s been nothing new,
no fresh class assignments here

or begin the next line with an adjective...

Though of late it's true there have been no new
Thoughtful class assignments here

either way gives you the anapest beginning you used in the other stanzas.

It's all about the accents, m'friend
AlCowie
Member
since 05-13-2011
Posts 90
London, UK


8 posted 05-17-2011 09:28 AM       View Profile for AlCowie   Email AlCowie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit AlCowie's Home Page   View IP for AlCowie

Thanks for the input - enjoyed the poem too, I find the rhythm a particularly satisfying one.

I'm interested in what you say about the mix in form as, given the satisfying nature of the poem as is (it is a great performance piece and has great rhythm when recited), it implies that sometimes it is less necessary to strictly adhere to set rules.

This seems a little bizarre though given that on the other exercises such failure to adhere to the rules makes the poem worse.

Anyway, I am enjoying the learning. Appreciated.

I am still, however, struggling to come up with a decent poem of my own like this, so again, high fives to Dr Moose!
Dr.Moose1
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since 09-05-99
Posts 3505
Bewilderment , USA


9 posted 05-17-2011 12:37 PM       View Profile for Dr.Moose1   Email Dr.Moose1   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dr.Moose1

Balladeer,
Lol, I must have been reading "that is" as contracted. As far as the trochee I see what you're saying, and will continue to do some more work with them so I can put them in their place and not have them wandering all over.

Al,
Glad to see you're participating and enjoyed the poem and exercise. Research indicates this poem has also been attributed to Raymond Calvert who mis said to have penned it in 1926.
Doc
Balladeer
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Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


10 posted 05-17-2011 01:11 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, Al, there is always the rule that "rules are made to be broken`." One can give all kinds of leeway to performance poetry, since the reciter is the one to make it work and can do so by how he recites. I've written a bit of performance poetry that would not stand up to scrutiny on the printed page. Songs are also a form of performance poetry and can get away with things no self-respecting poet would even try to pass off.....such as "I can't get no satisfaction", "you ain't nothing but a hound dog", or that immortal line "for there ain't no one but to give you no pain."

I confess that I'm pretty much of a purist and I appreciate attention paid to excellent meter but I don't insist that others feel the same way. What makes a good poem? If you like it, it's a good poem....it gets no simpler, or more complicated, than that.
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