Ballads

Often used to describe a song or poem telling a (long!) story, 'ballad' has a more specific meaning in poetic metre. It is similar to 'common metre', but less strict. Each stanza has four iambic lines, of four, three, four and three beats. Te-tum te-tum te-tum te-tum, Te-tum-te-tum-te-tum, Te-tum te-tum te-tum te-tum, Te-tum-te-tum-te-tum. The four lines rhyme abcb, and balladeers may use an internal rhyme in the first and third lines.

What We Want

I thought the pay
Was quite OK
When I first came through the door
Then I paid my rent
And it was spent
And now I want some more

The company's board
Say they can't afford
They've got no more to give
But like Olly Twist
More than subsist
I want enough to live

How Leonard Learned

The true story of how Leonard Cohen learned his guitar style ...

Leonard walked in Murray Hill Park 
And heard a young man play
Circled by listeners and courting them
In some mysterious way

With black hair and acoustic guitar
By the tennis courts stood he
Picking out a lonely-sounding
Spanish melody

Who Needs Bosses?

Without us nothing's moved nor made
No building and no bricks
Without us no foundations laid
And nothing broken fixed
Without our labour they've no purpose
No profits, only losses
The bosses always need the workers
But workers don't need bosses

The Gaoler and the Giant

Written in response to today's tabling of new anti-union laws ...

Said the gaoler to the sleeping giant
Your ties aren't tight enough
These bonds are very slightly pliant
You need a tougher cuff

Said the sleeping giant to the gaoler
There really is no need
For years I've lain here getting frailer
I've lost the will to leave

Differences

We put our differences aside
As wise advisers said 
We swept them out of open sight
And left them there for dead

And how the atmosphere improved
And how united we
Now sidelined were our differences
And we could all agree

Oh yes, we said, and quite right, mate
Concur with you, I must
And all the time our differences
Just sat there gath'ring dust

Once Upon a Tory Time

Despite our crusade to screw the low-paid
And the jobless and sick in our midst
They're parading their crimes in our nursery rhymes
And in fairy tales told to our kids

We just can not pander to this vile propaganda
So my job as benefits minister
Is to go through each rhyme, taking one at a time
And eliminate anything sinister

The Ballad of Gibbons Corner

Since Eighteen Ninety
In all of its finery
Stood Gibbons the furniture sellers
London’s last such attraction
With cash-only transaction
Until plastic caught up with the fellas

They eventually gave in
To modernity’s whim
With a sign saying ‘We accept Visa’
Through bombings and raids
Gibbons still stayed
Hackney’s very own Tower of Pisa

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