Flatland: Variations on a Ballad
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
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 remainWith 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.