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The Subject And Her Form: The Ballad by Stu

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  • First things first, a thank you way overdue - George Summers, it was a pleasure and a privilege to see that you’d included me in your ‘My Story Tree’ post the other week. Like all the best writers do, you understand more about your subject than the subject understands of himself!

    Secondly, for those of you that look forward to my posts, (if such a group of people exists) please accept my apologies for the delay – I’ve been extreeeeemely busy! I’ve been suffering from severe Cowbird withdrawal and I desperately need to get my creative on to scratch that relentless metaphorical itch!

    Which kind of leads me on nicely to my next poem in my project, which this time is that strange and various beast – the ballad. There are no strict rules for the ballad in its most modern form, but as writing without rules is too easy, I’ve taken to using the tetrameter and trimeter approach of the old traditional ballads. If it’s good enough for ‘The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ it’s definitely good enough for me! Hope you enjoy it.

    Between The Earth And The Sky

    There once were angels soaring skies
    Who revelled in the clouds.
    They cared not for pursuits of men
    And sang their freedoms proud.

    The land men were a different breed,
    Connected to the earth.
    They plugged their ears with wax to stop
    The angels being heard.

    The land men loved to toil and sow
    And see their harvests thrive.
    The angels loved to sing and dance
    Just glad to be alive.

    But angels could not see the point
    Of work bereft of art.
    The men thought angels ignorant
    And lazy in their hearts.

    They scoffed at one another's ways
    'Til things got out of hand.
    They cursed, then spat, then fought, then killed.
    No-one could understand.

    The people then kept to themselves
    And angels to their own
    As time had passed they grew to see
    They'd lost part of their home.

    Then once when showers sprayed the soil
    A sapling showed its head.
    As weeks went by the sapling grew,
    Became a tree instead.

    A tree, this world had never seen,
    From earth so straight and plain
    A tree that grew in height and breadth
    And nourished by the rain.

    The men gazed up at branches long,
    That stretched into the sky,
    Into the angels' realms beyond
    And pierced the clouds on high.

    The angels saw the tree and wept
    Rejoicing in its awe.
    They sat upon its branches then
    And unlocked heaven's door.

    A curious man, he stood below
    His feet stood in the soil.
    He clutched the bark with calloused hands
    And left behind his toil.

    He climbed the tree for days and nights
    With splinters in his hands
    Until an angel floated down -
    “Why have you left the land?”

    “I do not know,” the man did claim.
    “Just something called me here.”
    The angel said “Please take my hand.
    You have nothing to fear.”

    The good man took the angel's hand
    And flew up to the clouds.
    They reached the tall tree's highest peak
    Where gathered heaven's crowd.

    “It's time to end this feud” one said.
    “There's fools on either side.
    Let us make peace once and for all
    And share the earth and skies.”

    Just then a wondrous thing occurred
    For magic heard its cue.
    The branches curled and spread and shook
    And buds of flowers grew.

    The flowers, man had never known,
    Grew all over the tree.
    It's then men knew what beauty was.
    Once blind, now they could see.

    The angels all took to the earth
    To celebrate with men.
    Men welcomed wings with open arms
    And gifts borne from the land.

    Now when the disagreements rise,
    And angels fight with men,
    They only need see beauty's truth
    And peace restores again.
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