Poetry – How to Write a Ballad

ballads

“There are twelve months in all the year,

As I hear many men say,

But the merriest month in all the year

Is the merry month of May.”

As we continue to learn about the Middle Ages, we will learn about a popular form of poetry called the ballad. Ballads are lyrical poems. Many popular songs are written in this style.

Ballads tell of an event. They were often used to spread the news, provide entertainment, or create a “bigger than real life” story.

how to write a ballad

You will choose a topic from the Middle Ages to write your ballad about.

Ballad Writing Tips

  • Ballads often have verses of four lines
  • usually have a rhyming pattern: either abab or aabb or abcb (usually the easiest to rhyme)
  • repetition often found in ballads
    • entire stanzas can be repeated like a song’s chorus
    • lines can be repeated but each time a certain word is changed
    • a question and answer format can be built into a ballad: one stanza asks a questions and the next stanza answers the question
  • Ballads contain a lot of dialogue.
  • Action is often described in the first person
  • Two characters in the ballad can speak to each other on alternating lines

On top of spaghetti

[HTML2]

Ballad – student example

HOMEWORK – Write a Ballad and post it to the comments here. Minimum length – 4 stanzas (4 quatrains) with a refrain

Here is a popular and classic love sone written in ballad form. Lyrics are below the video.

[HTML1]

FOREIGNER I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS- Lyrics

Here is one of Ol’ King Cole’s favorites:

The Cremation of Sam McGee

[HTML3]

Maroon 5 Lyrics – She Will Be Loved

Are you starting to find the ryhming patterns inherent in ballads? Can you hear the beat? The driving rhythm of the music and the poetry?

[HTML4]

25 thoughts on “Poetry – How to Write a Ballad

  1. I rouse in the morning
    Sprinting downstairs with glee
    I can hear bells and angels singing
    My presents waiting under my Christmas tree

    Boxes of surprises
    Happiness bubbling inside me
    Inspecting my well earned prizes
    I spring with so much energy

    Forceful tearing of fine paper
    For that’s not what I care
    I’ll do the cleaning later
    Before my mom turns into a nightmare

    When I opened the box
    My voice abandons me
    Engraved inside was tiny silver ox
    It’s beauty made everyone come see

    New hope sparked throughout the day
    For it’s the time my heart leads the path
    A time to let my doubts slowly decay
    With the help of a soothing bubble bath

    :mrgreen:

  2. My Birthday (Revised)

    Come and celebrate this special day,
    Many people will come and play,
    Presents, Hugs, Kisses galore,
    May this special day come more and more!

    After the party is well over,
    But there are still presents to come,
    I rip of the packaging,
    And stare at my new bass drum,

    Toys, games, balls and bats,
    Maybe the balls are good for the dogs and the cats,
    I give the girly things to my sister,
    But leave me the new twister!

    Come and celebrate this special day,
    Many people will come and play,
    Presents, Hugs, Kisses galore,
    May this special day come more and more!

    I hope this day comes soon again,
    With such great pals and family friends,
    They made today none so plain,
    I dream that this happiness never ends.

  3. Monday, Monday, Monday
    The first of seven days
    The day right after after Sunday
    “Lunch detention,” all the teacher says

    Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday
    Students become aware
    That they have lots of homework
    And they start to care

    Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday
    The middle of the week
    Students think the weekend’s coming
    Teachers don’t stop but speak and speak

    Thursday, Thursday, Thursday
    One more day to go
    The week just goes so slow
    Oh no, Oh no, Oh no

    Friday, Friday, Friday
    The week is finally over
    Homework is all gone
    C’mon and sleepover

    Weekend, Weekend, Weekend
    It passed so very fast
    School starts very soon
    The weekend didn’t even last

  4. Me and Jackie… Fun stuff

    We tip toe in the dead of the night,
    Every sound in the bushes gives us a fright,
    Our hearts thump in our chest,
    But tonight has been the best.

    We know in the morning our legs will be sore,
    But the only thing we want is more,
    Excitement and adrenaline kept us going,
    Even after the guards anger was showing.

    Footsteps increased in sound,
    We looked at each other and dropped to the ground,
    Angry shouts were easily heard,
    We lie perfectly still and nothing was stirred,

    We glance at each other at the same time,
    I feel like we’ve committed a crime,
    With our fingers, we count to three,
    Jumping up, we are finally free.

    The crazy guards lashed and grabbed,
    We squirm away without getting jabbed,
    We dart in and out of the bushes,
    Even through the disgusting muddy mush.

    When we are sure we have shaken them off,
    We stumble to the ground to wheeze and cough,
    Despite the cold biting our legs since its mid December,
    We know that this will be a night to remember.

  5. I’m not that good at writing ballads,
    as you will come to see,
    im much more better at making salads,
    or collecting honey from the hive of a bee,

    I’m not very good at writing cinquains,
    which must seem very odd,
    Im much more better at bustin’ brains
    on plants vs. zombies and C.O.D

    I’m not ver good at writing a poem,
    as you will learn to know,
    I will wonder where rivers flow from,
    (I think from old melted snow),

    I’m not that good at writing quatrains
    as life goes on and on,
    while as it snows and as it rains,
    I’ve been inside, thinking all along

  6. Heaven and Hell, The Human Race

    Flashes in the distance, a dancing dragon in the sky
    The roar of a lion, spreading his reply
    The wrath of heaven scarring the ridged, weathered earth
    All hope aflame, and yet none at birth

    Thunder roars, stalking the gleaming bar of light
    A flaring phoenix soars, high in flight
    A blanket of jet-black ash engulfs the crescent skyline
    An incessant storm raging, hinting of a sign.

    Flashes in the distance, a plummeting dragon in the sky
    The howl of a wolf, it’s grief his reply
    The flames of hell incinerating the lush, evergreen trees
    The devil laughs, his demented mind crammed with glee

    Flames scorch the air, its waves reducing all to ash,
    Nothing survives, dematerializing in a flash
    The roar of heaven, the guffaw of hell
    Against the trapped human race, trying to break from this spell

  7. The long grass whispers, swaying in the breeze.
    It dances and shimmies, never to freeze.
    I lie in the cross road, a field, a street of tar
    One road leading near, the other very far.

    I sit there quietly, contemplating my choice
    Shall I continue down a path of silence, or find my voice
    If I should take the street of tar
    One road will lead me near but that road shall lead me far

    And if I should go the other way
    My life will be pleasant yet stay at bay
    But I do not know if I want such a change
    Perhaps all I want is just to roam free-range?

    Yet it is not my choice for I am not alone
    I stand up for I must begin to roam
    And not into a field but into the car
    That will not take me near, but very very far

  8. Fireworks

    Summer painted brand new shades,
    Where everyone went a different way.
    Our time together slowly fades,
    But memories wont ever wash away.

    The fireworks sparkle and bloom up high,
    Can you see it from the other side?
    I still remember the day we said goodbye,
    The day you thought our bond died.

    “I’m doing okay,” I started my letter,
    Did you see through the little lie?
    I promised you that things would get better,
    For we’re entering a new sky.

    Fireworks of our dreams,
    Fall quietly in the sky.
    Our friendship still gleams,
    So please don’t cry.

  9. The majestic hawk is a hunter,
    swooping beneath the sun.
    Hunting for its prey,
    Never thinking of fun.

    The sweet bluebird is a maiden,
    chirping and sitting on its bush.
    Singing sweetly and prettily,
    It pecks its food to mush.

    The wise old owl is a teacher,
    Hooting during the night.
    Swooping quickly through the air,
    It takes a silent flight.

    The chicken is a fat boy,
    Waddling in its cage.
    It stumbles around blindly,
    Never to be a sage.

  10. BALLAD- social roles
    A lonely student by the name of Bob
    Does a test on the middle ages, on everyones’ jobs
    A teacher walks in by the name of King Cole
    Bob says, “this is hard! what are the social roles?”

    I’d be happy to help you, King Cole did say
    Though for this favor, a fee you must pay
    Just kidding, the merry teacher went on
    We’ll start with a normal serf named Don

    Don works the fields, harvests and farms
    His wife stays in the house and sews string and yarn
    They supply food and cloth, and other good things
    In return for protection from their great king

    Next are the knights, the warriors in armor
    That protect both their lords, the king, and the farmers
    For a fief, which is a piece of some land
    He gives his lord shielding with his weapon in hand

    Third come the nobles who have a lot of money
    They can both be greedy or quite, quite funny
    They give the king knights to help him keep peace
    Their undying loyalty will never cease

    Last is the King who rules one and all
    He lives in a castle with grand, massive halls
    The food, tax, and goods all go to him
    And all important decisions are made on his whim

    So as you see, Bob, King Cole said
    All you have to do is use your head
    These questions are actually not that difficult
    It’s not like I asked you to spell Trinmotsiffirult

  11. Catherine, Called Birdy

    There are not many girls in the end
    Who resist when marriage requests arrive
    But there was a girl who instead
    Drove suitors away, down the drive

    Catherine or Birdy was her name
    When she was threatened with a Shaggy Beast
    She played a very strange game
    Which was drooling in her meat during feasts

    But alas! Shaggy Beard was a stubborn one
    He totally refused to go down
    So it wasn’t until a little tavern fun
    Turned Shaggy Beard stone cold, under ground

    So now the nightmare is done
    He is now no longer a threat
    Birdy is set to marry his son
    Who will cause her much less fret

  12. The streets were deserted.
    No weather signs being alerted.
    No warnings given to stay home.
    Perhaps everyone has vacationed to Rome.

    The streets have been left alone.
    No one in sight, perhaps I shall go home.
    No sounds of trampling feet.
    Have we been beat?

    The streets, over and over are the same, a repeat.
    A stream of blood coming, from across the street.
    A pile of bodies wearing dented armor, they look mistreated.
    Is it over, have we been defeated?

    The war is over.
    The survivors have fled.
    The city is defeated.
    Anyone leftover is most likely dead.

  13. THIS IS THE REVISION

    I stare into the sky,
    And see stars’ so high,
    They seem to be shining at me,
    As I watch in silent glee.

    I stare into the sky,
    And something catches my eye,
    A planet? A star?
    How can I see so far?

    I stare into the sky,
    And I see the moon begin cry,
    Why is he crying I say?
    As I hear the call of a jay.

    I stare into the sky,
    As the moon is waving goodbye,
    Because the sun is finally out,
    And he begins to roam about.

    I stare into the sky,
    And see the sun’s so high,
    He seems to be shining at me,
    As I watch in silent glee.

  14. A happy life I loved and lead,
    Was all but destroyed by a man of great dread.
    He stole my life’s freedom which he will regret
    I’m sure soon I’ll hear *her say, “Off with his head!”

    I tried and i tried to chase him away
    But despite my tries he decided to stay
    My father, the pig, bellowed and laughed
    But shaggy beard is worse and twice as daft

    But luckily, oh luckily, the tables have turned
    For shaggy beard is dead! And I will not mourn
    He died in a fight over-a poor tavern maid
    And never will I ever be the least bit concerned

    A happy life I love and lead
    Shan’t be stolen or taken from me
    I’ll spit on my father and do as I please
    Then sit by the window, sipping earl grey tea.

  15. There was a little lonely seed,
    Whom has not met his only need.
    Then he finally began to sprout,
    His little green arms stretched far out.

    A little tiny bug came to play,
    The sprout welcomed and said “hey”
    They started dancing on the light,
    but ended sleeping in the night.

    The bug thought he had to go,
    But he stayed longer though,
    Both of them began to laugh,
    And there comes a little calf.

    Both of them welcomed and told,
    But calf had a friend called mold,
    So he went back to his sweet home yard,
    But he was caught by the big fat guard.

    The bug decided to return to his home,
    But he was lost in this big great Rome.
    Instead it stayed with it’s new friend,
    Forgetting all the time it has spend.

  16. A clever and stubborn maiden
    Forced to marry a beast
    With pressure she is laden
    As she dreads her marriage feast

    Most suitors can’t outwit Birdy
    They flee at the first chance
    But this one won’t leave, surely
    Without a wedding dance

    Shaggy beard is his name
    Whom tried to kill a hound
    His own death day, too, soon came
    And he was buried in the ground

    Relief washed over the girl
    She’s now to marry his son
    Causing a new life to unfurl
    A life full of fun!

  17. A lonely student by the name of Bob
    Does a test on the middle ages, on everyones’ jobs
    A teacher walks in by the name of King Cole
    Bob says, “this is hard! what are the social roles?”

    I’d be happy to help you, King Cole did say
    Though for this favor, a fee you must pay
    Just kidding, the merry teacher went on
    We’ll start with a normal serf named Don

    Don works the fields, harvests and farms
    His wife stays in the house and sews string and yarn
    They supply food and cloth, and other good things
    In return for protection from their great king

    Next are the knights, the warriors in armor
    That protect both their lords, the king, and the farmers
    For a fief, which is a piece of some land
    He gives his lord shielding with his weapon in hand

    Third come the nobles who have a lot of money
    They can both be greedy or quite, quite funny
    They give the king knights to help him keep peace
    Their undying loyalty will never cease

    Last is the King who rules one and all
    He lives in a castle with grand, massive halls
    The food, tax, and goods all go to him
    And all important decisions are made on his whim

    So as you see, Bob, King Cole said
    All you have to do is use your head
    These questions are really not that hard
    Next I might tell you about monks and bards!

  18. Catherine, Called Birdy

    She is filled with anger,
    She is forced to be betrothed,
    She is aware of the danger,
    Of the man that she utterly loathes.

    She is filled with compassion,
    She feels sorry for a bear,
    She saves in a costly fashion,
    And brings it to her lair.

    She is filled with stubbornness,
    She refuses to marry,
    Though the suitors are colorless,
    And live lives without vary.

    This poem’s about a girl,
    Who’s name is Catherine, called Birdy,
    Though she was a girl with gall,
    She’s now a kind, mature lady.

  19. I was able to post now! So much computer problems!

    What should I do?

    More drops of sweat is making me wet,
    Then my mind is suddenly blank.
    Corpus Bones, the game is already set.
    I can’t move, it is like my feet has already sank.

    What can I do? I begin to hurry,
    But the minds are full with worry.
    I begin think, but there is no time,
    I feel like I have recently done a crime.

    There are Eyes watching me straight,
    I feel like a weak little bait,
    Waiting for the big angry prey.
    There’s no choice but to pray.

    What should I tell the teacher,
    When I have not done your work,
    And he yells “you little creature!”
    The choice is mine, and was my select.

  20. A happy life I loved and lead,
    
Was all but destroyed by a man of great dread.

    He stole my life’s freedom which he will regret
    
I’m sure soon I’ll hear *her say, “Off with his head!”

    I tried and i tried to chase him away
    
But despite my best tries,
    he decided to stay
My father, the pig, bellowed and laughed

    But shaggy beard is worse and thrice as daft

    But luckily, oh luckily, the tables have turned
    
For shaggy beard is dead! And my life has returned

    He died in a fight over-a poor tavern maid
    
And I’ll skip down the halls, to lead the parade

    A happy life (pause) I love and lead
    
Shan’t be stolen or taken from me

    I’ll spit on my father and do as I please
    
Then sit by the window, sipping my tea.

  21. The Driver

    As the heat rose higher
    And the car went faster and faster
    His tires caught fire
    He skid round the corner and hit disaster

    As he rose from the accident
    The crowd waved and cheered
    For the man that survived
    Luckily he didn’t die as feared

    When the man drove again
    After 6 months, he set a record
    With his fire-proof car
    When this happened the crowd roared

    After he set his record
    He was happy about this so
    He retired from racing
    This record was set some time ago

    xandy dettl
    table 3
    english 1

  22. Chiedu
    English 1
    table 2
    His name is Chiedu……

    His name is Chiedu…….
    He goes to school.
    How about you?
    Do you like to be cool?

    He goes to math class
    Learning from the lesson
    You expect him to pass
    With a great sensation

    At the end of the day
    He goes to the bus
    With a silent yay
    His focus adjusts

    His name is Chiedu…..
    He is really cool
    How about you?
    Do you go to his school?

  23. Renee Germani
    table 6
    English f
    (the title is Walking down the street)

    As I was walking down the street
    I saw two people in secret meet
    The second one said to the first
    “Do you have any water for my thirst?”

    The next street
    I saw a man eating meat
    It seem like he was happy
    But his dog was crappy

    The other side of the road
    There was a child holding a toad
    The child’s mother hated it
    So she decide to spilt

    I decide to walk back up
    To find that the dog had a pup
    The two people had walked away
    My mom was driving out of the driveway

  24. Ethan
    English 2
    Table 2

    Coins jingle in my pocket
    At least its not my locket
    That would be very bad
    Cause I got it from my lad

    My best lad
    He’s into fads
    They fade rather quickly
    No wonder he’s into them briefly

    My locket
    My lad got it from a plane cockpit
    From the pilot
    Who was giant

    The pilot said “we’re very high”
    What a lie
    We were about to land
    How damned!

  25. rayhan says
    table 1
    social study

    likes to play
    he likes to play with friend
    friends are amazing
    it is amazing to have friend with

    likes to chat
    chat are the way to get a friend
    to get a friend is very hard
    hard for the new English people.

    likes to be social
    social is very important to us
    it is important because social is very useful
    useful for the social is working as a team

    likes to be polite
    polite is very strong behavior
    strong behavior is very high value
    high value is good grade for you well done

    likes to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s