Well, I’m nearly a week late and things have been crazy but I’m still going! I wrote the majority of this poem last Sunday and left it alone for the entire week. Part of why I haven’t touched it this past week is because it was just sitting there in the back of my mind and I didn’t know what to do with it. But when I sat down tonight to hash it out it just kindof sprouted up and I’m actually a little bit fond of it.
The Ballade is made up of three octaves and an envoy (which is a quatrain that sums up the poem). It’s rhyme pattern is ABABBCBC (3x), BCBC. The final line of the first stanza is a refrain that is repeated as the last line of each stanza. Though it does not have a prescribed rhythm (yay!), the rhyme and length are still rather restrictive, as well as crafting a refrain that is both versatile and specific enough to connect the four stanzas. The tone of a ballade is typically formal and solemn, and contains symbolism and classical allusions. I didn’t dive too deep into the symbolism or classical references, but I actually had a subject/idea that I had on the table a few poems ago and set aside that I thought of right away that seemed to fit this form really well for several reasons.
The subject is the three original muses of Greek mythology. The three muses preside over memory, thought, and song, and I thought about the significance of all three things to me. Thoughts are what I am constantly getting lost in, all of my young and upcoming ideas and creations. Song is a way I express myself, calm and uplift myself, and worship my incredible Savior Jesus. Memory is something I’ve learned to cherish more as I’ve grown older and move on from certain to new seasons of life. I thought of how I’ve been inspired by these three Muses and what each one means to me. And in referencing this classical mythology and using it to represent three very important parts of me, I had the perfect space, one stanza, for each of them to voice themselves. So each stanza represents one of the three, and the envoy is spoken once again by Memory. This is because memory is part of time, which connects, organizes, and governs so many parts of our world, and her personality just seems so motherly and enveloping.
While I tried to stick to the rhyme scheme, my rhymes are NOT exact. And the rhyme is supposed to be ABABBCBC repeated in each stanza, but I switched it up every stanza. I did this partly because let’s be honest, people. I didn’t want to find that many rhymes. But I feel like I can justify it in good conscience because each Muse has her own personality and voice, and speaks differently. All this to say, I definitely broke some rules. Anyway, this poem is not finished, but it is complete.
The Ballade of the Muses
Pulling back the curtains of time to graciously usher you in
And uncover the things that have been hidden away,
Stored up for the times when the heart is worn thin.
Dip your feet in the waters of passed-away days.
The warmth spreads out in far-reaching rays
To the parts of the past worth resurrecting from the dust.
Though it is always discolored by loss and pain
Memory is the part of the soul that has been most loved.
A teeming wilderness in which to get lost
Sometimes dangerous, sometimes kind.
One moment flickering flames, the next biting frost
A tightly-bound web for you to unwind.
Volatile, hot-blooded creature
Living inside of your head, too shifting to trust
But a deep and wonderful sea, sure
As the place the soul goes to be embodied and touched.
The deepest, most personal presence
Far beyond how words can engage us.
The Spirit breathed out in its essence.
When emotions expand and outgrow their cages
They leave the body and escape us
After calming and sanctifying, no longer subdued.
Sometimes beautiful, a little wild, and always courageous.
Song is the sound your soul makes when it is most moved.
The firmest ground, the warmest comfort, the greatest teacher.
For the hours you need to get lost in something real but unreachable.
When the thoughts are dark and dangerous and the voice is weak and rough,
Memories will always be the part of the soul that knows what it’s like to be loved.