Ballad Meter

When I sat down to write a verse

I couldn’t think at all.
All I could do was groan and curse


My useless, vapid scrawl.

My pen was poised above the page,

Inclined to overflow.
It quivered, eager to engage

In battle down below.

Yet nothing wild and worthy came

To mind while I marked time,
A-tapping on the table frame

And toying with a rhyme.

I soon resigned, laid down my pen,

Rose up to drift away.
Outside the world was dark again,

The evening clouds scorched gray.

I found an empty window sill,

Laid down my weary head,
Ignored the creeping autumn chill,

Gazed doggedly ahead.

Impossible! I cried aloud,

Dismayed at my defeat.
No decent poet, fierce and proud

Would willingly retreat.

But sure enough, as I stared out

The window at the sky,
I winced beneath the weight of doubt.

I breathed a wintry sigh.

Was this how I would end my days?

Was this my greatest foe?
Of all the many noble ways,

I hoped ‘t would not be so.

Yet all my days of penning lines

Upon the empty page,
Of searching through the sky for signs

Of wordy wars to wage,

Had not prepared me for this hour;

To taste undoing, sharp and sour.

For I’d never met a poison sweeter

Than the wicked ballad meter.





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