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Poem: "Folk Tales in 4-4 Time" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Folk Tales in 4-4 Time"

This poem came out of the May 3, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles and jenny_evergreen.  In case you're curious, green lacewings are among the top-rated beneficial insects for devouring pests.  For folk songs, I highly recommend "The Contemplator's Folk Music Site," a terrific archive with lyrics and music; but be careful, it can suck you in for hours.


Folk Tales in 4/4 Time


We set them to music,
The things we remember:
The flowers of April,
The leaves of September.

The ballads of romance
Have set hearts a-sighing;
The ballads of murder
Have left eyes a-crying.

For "Thomas the Rhymer"
And "Undaunted Mary"
We sing of true lovers
With tunes bright and airy.

But for "The Two Sisters"
And likewise "Tom Dooley"
We sing slow and sadly
Of those who slew cruelly.

The plots of folk ballads
Show off all their paces;
We paint ourselves fairly
In both of our faces.

For humans are nothing
If not good and evil;
We are the green lacewing
And also the weevil.

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Current Mood: busy busy

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: May 5th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
This one is going on index cards on my typing stand at work, along with "Weave a web of gravity's grace".
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad it touched you. There's nothing to make a writer's day more than having someone pin up your work and label it "like this."
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: May 5th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, neat, and an interesting buggy twist at the end.

And now I'm humming Donald McGillifry. Only spelled right.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad you liked it.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: May 5th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yay!

I really like this set all in all!
ladymondegreen From: ladymondegreen Date: May 5th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now I have to go look up Undaunted Mary to see if it's the ballad I'm thinking of.

I'm wholly familiar with the others, and pleased to see them here. :)
ladymondegreen From: ladymondegreen Date: May 5th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I had envisioned a version of the song that became Step It Out Mary and while this has the elements of the forceful male relative, the unwanted marriage and the dead lover who is a soldier, the ending is a lot cheerier than the ending of Step It Out Mary.

Hooray for women with their own agency! That's deeply unusual in this sort of ballad.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

That's why I like it. People who assume that women are easy prey deserve to get laid low by their own weapons. Undaunted Mary closely resembles the kind of heras that I like to write about myself.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Try this...

http://www.contemplator.com/sea/undaunt.html

It's also known as "On the Banks of Sweet Dundee" for the refrain.
ladymondegreen From: ladymondegreen Date: May 5th, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Try this...

Oddly, that's what I did find, which prompted the comment below.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: May 5th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I'm glad this one got sponsored! :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: May 5th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Me too, it's very singable. I like sharing that stuff.
12 comments or Leave a comment