David was his name, his name,
but for now his preferences weren’t the same, the same.
He had lots of charm and wit
I certainly wouldn’t call him a twit
He used to play his war songs loud and proud
as if he was trying to draw a crowd
He claimed to come from aristocracy
that means he’s rather good stock you see
I would say he was full of eccentricity
and certainly the opposite of simplicity
He had many strings to his bow
Author, craftsman, financial entrepreneur all brought him his dough
He would love to start a good debate
who knew what then would be your fate
but if you didn’t like your English lit
he would think of you as quite a twit
He was my step father you see
but this really shouldn’t be anything about me
But let’s talk about one day
and I will tell you what he did say
We went in to town in the month of May
Which brought me fear at what he might say
“Hello luv how can I help yah”
said the shopkeeper without a clue
this said in defence to give her, her due
She was a sound lass, quite all smiles
but this wouldn’t help her in the impending trials
I did wonder how much time prettiness buys
As I saw him begin to wearily roll his eyes
He retorted in the sternest of fashion
His tone alone making her go ashen
“I am not your luv” he said in disgust
“You will call me Sir, if speak you must”
She squeaked like a mouse
that wished to retreat in to it’s house
She went as red
as a poppy upon flowering bed
I looked to the ground
hoping it would swallow me up
wishing everybody would
just shut up!
I looked to the ground
wishing it would pull me down
Then I wouldn’t feel
I was such a clown
Living a life
with such a large boisterous character
Was something I had never thought to factor.
© Justine Nagaur
What did you think of my ballad?
A bit of history about this poem
I decided to write a poem about my step-father and a real event. He was a loud, boisterous, intelligent and charismatic man. However he had his foibles as we all do and I would say he definitely fell in to the eccentric category. For his living in restored antique furniture, almost a hobby for him, he dabbled in the stock market self taught and very successfully but last but not least was an author of two best sellers.
He would spend his time writing in the greenhouse, that being full of tomatoes. It was stiflingly hot and he would sit on what looked like the most uncomfortable deck chair. No one was allowed in, it was under pain of death almost to go and disturb him. I remember however being allowed in sometimes to go and give him a cup of tea. Walking in the heat would hit me, mixed with the overwhelming smell of tomato plants. To this day the smell invokes those memories as it would.
He also was a stickler for saving money. He would hoard multiple boxes from the cash and carry of things we would never get through, I think a fear that one day we might end up down in a bunker and need the dry goods stash. He would play his music at full blast, this consisted of march songs and war planes in the air firing bombers. As you can imagine it was quite hellish for both my mother and I needle would be set to record for him to enjoy these.
We were taught always to use a tea bag multiple times, woe betide anyone who left a light on or a tap dripping. We were never allowed to the cinema as he thought it a waste of money. He did buy a video machine but it was in ‘my parents bedroom’. This was un-chartered territory, I was not allowed in without knocking and suitable permission, so I never got to watch any videos until one day…that one day.
I went out and rented a video tape, presented it to him and pleaded to be allowed to use his machine. You know it was enough that I had gone out and frivolously rented something in the first place. I was allowed. This was a momentous moment.
You can imagine my horror when for the first and last time ever the machine somehow managed to eat the tape ribbon, causing the machine to jam. It was a terrifying moment to admit this, but of course it was not the machine’s fault it was the tapes fault of which I had rented.
This poem is about the time he stormed down to the video shop rental to announce the disgrace of a tape ruining his machine. The memory sticks in my mind as does glue to its intended victim.
The media photograph of my step father and his beloved gun dogs. This photo was taken upon the publication of his first best seller “Knights Cross” which sadly I don’t think one can buy anymore.
Your prompt: hero(ine)
Whether it’s a hero or a heroine, your poem today should focus on a person with an outsized personality — someone who makes a splash (or a mess) whenever he or she crosses others’ path. A parent, a teacher, a writer, Batman: we all know someone heroic, whether in real life or in fiction. Of course, if you’re feeling less laudatory today, feel free to turn things around by writing about an antihero or a villain.
Today’s form: ballad
Today’s device: anaphora/epistrophe