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.
ON FALLING SNOW
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|
ON WINTER WOE
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.