Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Ballade by Marilyn Taylor

Ballades are the longest form we'll include here at the Rondeau Roundup, and also one of the hardest. Here's a funny one from poet Marilyn Taylor, who is the current Poet Laureate of Wisconsin.

Ballade of the Open Mike

                          —Bookshop poster

O will you won’t you join the gang
down at the books-and-java store
where browsers browse and poets hang?
We long to greet you at the door
and steer you to the second floor
where we’ll festoon the atmosphere
with rhythm, rhyme, and metaphor—
         the poems you didn’t know you came to hear!

Linger for the whole shebang,
and get more than what you bargained for!
Poems in Spanish, poems in slang,
ripe confessionals galore,
piles of sex (please don’t keep score),
and now and then a sonneteer
will show you why you can’t ignore
        those incandescent poems you need to hear!

And if some old orangutang
has rescued from a dresser drawer
his strange pentameter harangue,
or some benighted sophomore
reveals her fling in Singapore—
five minutes and they’re outta here,
making way for lines that soar:
       the kind you’ve waited far too long to hear!

You simply can’t go home before
we breathe our blessings in your ear—
our songs of the unsung troubadour,
       the ones we know you really came to hear!

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