Monday, August 15, 2016

Special Feature: "Flatland: Variations on a Ballad, Part I" by the Editor

Flatland:  Variations on a Ballad
Steven Wittenberg Gordon


Upon my mountain cold and tall                          
I’d stand upon the snow                                   
And scream a mighty eagle’s call                          
As winds would round me blow.                          

For there upon my craggy peak                          
Enwrapped in icy air                                   
My lips would be an eagle’s beak                          
And hide of wolf my hair.                                   

So like a grizzly bear’s my arms,                          
My legs great trunks of pine,                          
And deep within my blood would warm        
All that is me and mine.                                   
But now I dwell upon a plain                          
A vast flat bed of blades.                                   
Nor eagle, wolf, nor bears remain                 
With me.  My spirit fades.

Poet's Notes:  This is Part I, or the "original" version, of a traditional ballad about how much I miss the mountains while living in Kansas (aka "flatland").  Just as a musical ballad may be presented as a theme with variations, I wanted to experiment with doing the same thing with a poetic ballad.  Four more versions of this ballad will be presented each weekday this week.  As the week progresses, note how the poem mutates further and further away from the original, traditional form, yet how each still retains the essential musical elements of the original.

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