Sunday summary: A Whole Heap o’Updates

April 13, 2014 by KWills

Wow, this week’s been even worse than the last! But I really am getting better. No, I mean it this time – no more croaking, sneezing or messed up sleep patterns. Nothing but writing-focused goodness from now until… well, until Wednesday. Because that’s when the next lot of busy-ness begins, and I will probably fall behind again. No worries – I just need to get a month’s worth of work done in the next… four… days. I can do that.

OK, I probably can’t, but here’s to crazy optimism. Speaking of which:

In Defence of Optimism

I haven’t met with much success
In fact I’m barely getting by,
Though failure dogs my heals, I guess
I’ll always have just one more try.
Though I may never “do or die”
Or shake the world, I’m not without
My own, unfailing battle cry:
“I’m often down, but never out.”

You’ll know by now, I’ve failed the test
At least, in posting this on time,
My goals I’ll have to re-assess
That 50k will never fly
And I may have to simplify
The things I want to blog about
But there’s one thing you can’t deny:
I’m often down, but never out.

It’s tempting simply to regress
To sweet inaction, days slip by
In peaceful slumber, but unless
I stand again, I’ll never fly.
Despair may sing its lullaby
“Give up, give in, drop off, drop out.”
My stubborn soul will still reply;
“I’m often down, but never out.”

So onward, to a clearer sky
Soon all dark days must turn about
Let this persistence signify
I’m often down, but never out

Form: Ballade. Not to be confused with the ballad, the ballade is another French form dating back to the 15th century. The name is derived from an old French word that means “a dancing song”, and the form reflects the strict patterns of a set dance.

A distinguishing feature of the ballade is the dense rhyming, with only three different rhymes across 28 lines. The first three stanzas are a type of huitain, with eight syllables to a line in a rhyme scheme ababbcbC, where ‘C’ is the refrain. An envoi of four lines (bcbc) is used to “sign off” and tie the poem together. Since this is a French form, and the French language doesn’t use stresses the way English does, the lines are measured in syllables rather than feet.

More on the ballade:

It may be a result of blitzing these last few posts and poems, but I seem to be writing exclusively in tetrameter – iambic or trochic. Tomorrow’s post should break this streak, however. It’s time to consider the poetry of song lyrics.


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