Writing a Ballad

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A Story poem is simply narrative poem which is simply a poem that tells a story for example, in real life or in fantasy. The best way to write one is to approach it in the same way as you would write a story, that is with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Narrative poems can rhyme or they don’t have to rhyme, however, if they have a sense of rhythm and rhyme in them they are easier to listen to and to remember. Parallelism, repeating structures or words is also a device that is often used in Narrative poems. This was done in ancient times because Narrative poems or Ballads as they are also called used to be told and retold as entertainment or news.

You’ll Need:

·                                Imagination

·                                Literacy


Introduce the Protagonist in the first stanzas, or the person the poem is about. Take for instance the Australian ballad “The Man from Ironbark”, the first line is, “It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town”. The first line and the rest of the first stanza sets up the narrative by telling about the protagonist. In your narrative poem you should introduce your main character in the first stanza. Say where he/she is from, and say what he/she did or will do. Patterson uses parallelism in that he ends every stanza with the word Ironbark.


Introduce the Antagonist in the next stanzas, or the character who works against the main character, in the previous case the barber. The second stanza starts, “The barber man was small and flash as barbers mostly are”. This stanza tells who the barber is and what he will do to the protagonist. “Just watch me catch him all alive, the man from Ironbark.


Mention what is happening thirdly in your narrative, for instance, in “The Man From Ironbark” the next stanza starts, “A grunt was all reply he got, he shaved the bushman’s chin”, here the poet tells that the barber is starting to do something, and by the end of the stanza he has fooled the bushman into thinking his throat is cut.


Concentrate in telling the consequences of this action in the following stanzas and its heroic or comical conclusion. A practical way to actually write a narrative poem is to firstly write the whole story in stanzas without worrying about rhyme or devices. Then when you rewrite it and polish it, you will find that because you have done the bulk of the work already, your mind is much clearer to work on refining the narrative.


Good Luck


·                                 Spell check your poem

·                                 Check for rhythmic beat

·                                 Make it easily understood


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