Sunday, December 11, 2011

For Real Toads: Dickinson's ballad style

Today, Kerry O'Connor of the writers' group
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, reintroduced us to the ballad style preferred by Emily Dickinson in much of her poetry.
"Each stanza or quatrain alternates lines of iambic tetrameter (8 syllables) and iambic trimeter (six syllables), with an ABCB rhyme scheme," says Kerry.  "Dickinson's stanzas were not always in strict iambs, though she retained the syllable count.
"Dickinson's  poems might consist of between one and six stanzas and her use of punctuation was idiosyncratic."
Kay Davies photo
I loved that last part. I suspect my punctuation (although I'm quick to correct that of others when requested) is idiosyncratic as well.
I attempted a few (between one and four verses, not six) Dickinsonian ballads today. Like the classic poet herself, I tried to maintain the syllable count but cannot promise the stress should always be on the second syllable.

My heart is heavy with the snow
White’ning the countryside
My love is far, so far afield
And to me he’ll soon ride
Whate’er betides my love that day
What winds will blow and shriek
Toward me I know he will ride
And here my comfort seek
Pull up, my love, pull up, I beg,
Do not in deep snow ride
Your horse may fall and break a leg
And you, my love, might die
Seek refuge, love, where’er you might
Stay warm, my love, and live
For I’ll be here both day and night
And to you comfort give.
Photo courtesy Mr. Google
Mistletoe hangs over my head
And bids you kiss me soft
The berries white can bring romance
When they are hung aloft
So kiss me quick, my darling dear
Do not kiss another
For in this very place, just here,
Father first kissed Mother
They married and their love lived long
Through new generations
Because the mistletoe bestowed
Kissing’s sweet sensations.
Sketch courtesy Mr. Google
No roses bloom, no pansies preen
Hummingbirds don't hover
But evergreen can still be seen
'Neath the snowy cover
Come, Christmas, soon, and New Year’s Eve
When all will be jolly
And winter’s woe will be relieved
By bells, song and holly.
Kay Davies photo
The flames burn bright upon the logs
But we no wood need buy
Electric flames burn warm
As toast, while on the rug we lie.

Media photo


Tammy said...

Beautiful, and exactly in the style of Emily Dickinson! Thanks for making the evening a little more cozy!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I can see that you had a lot of fun with this, Kay. The first was my favourite with it's romantic voice, and promise of undying love.

Fran said...

Absolutely beautiful, I really love the On Winter Woe poem. Well done! xxx

Jinksy said...

"On Fireglow" does it for me, on a chilly day like today! Thanks! ♥

SquirrelQueen said...

These are all wonderful and sound very much like Dickinson to me. The first one is quite romantic and is my favorite.

Lolamouse said...

Wow! You were quite the overachiever with this assignment! And quite the romantic as well!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, I am impressed - a "few" Emily Dickinson poems - I am afraid to try one! So well done, they lilt along wonderfully.

Ella said...

Kay, I love the magic warmth of your words! I might have to give this one a beautiful! You really did
challenge Emily; I love what you created. You created a spark of romance, with such a wondrous view!