Writing 201: hero(ine) A ballad to Sir

 Writing 201: hero(ine)

Writing 201: hero(ine)

Writing 201: hero(ine)


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


  29 comments for “Writing 201: hero(ine) A ballad to Sir

  1. February 23, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Well done I enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. February 23, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    Liked your poem and the story that went with it – I went back and reread the poem after reading the story and, though it made sense before, it made even more sense after. He sounds like a character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 6:46 PM

      well i am chuffed you went back and read it twice, thank you for your lovely words, brought a smile to my face x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. February 23, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    Wow..you really did a good job with it ..enjoyed it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 6:44 PM

      thank you really glad you liked it, i enjoyed writing it, some of them have been really hard but this seemed to ‘happen’ thank you so much for popping by x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. February 23, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    You sure had a very disciplined life! But what a wonderful poem to churn out the story! 🙂


    • February 23, 2015 at 6:19 PM

      Thank you and yes your right heh, I immediately thought of the incident when I learned about this particular assignment, really appreciate you popping by x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. February 23, 2015 at 6:14 PM

    That was fun. You created such a clear picture of him. Lovely! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. February 23, 2015 at 6:54 PM

    Well done! It was very interesting to see the story in poetic form and in prose. They match very well and each have their benefits. He certainly would not have been an easy man to live with.

    The “Sir” part reminds me of a colleague who always introduced himself as doctor and expected to be called that at restaurants and other places. I always thought it strange, particularly since it was a Dr. from a PhD. But at the same time, because I grew up in the army, when I was in college I found it very difficult to call an instructor by their first name instead of Mr. and Mrs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 24, 2015 at 7:41 PM

      yes living with him had its benefits but in return huge downfalls. At the end of his life he fell out with me and because of his stubborn nature he wouldn’t let me go and see him even on his deathbed which was very hard to deal with but i have learned that just because someone is family doesn’t mean they will always act well. xx


      • February 24, 2015 at 8:53 PM

        I can definitely understand. My father only “allowed” me to come to my mother’s funeral if I agreed to not speak to him. He told my brothers who brokered the agreement that if I spoke to him he would create a huge scene at her funeral. He had spoken to me since early 1971. That was in 1992, but he died in 1999 without speaking to me again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 24, 2015 at 9:21 PM

          Wow that’s hard and when it comes to family life we seem to have so many similarities it’s uncanny x


          • February 24, 2015 at 10:35 PM

            Yes we do!


  7. February 23, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    This is great Justine. I love the way you’ve put this together, almost like we are having a conversation! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 24, 2015 at 7:49 PM

      thank you, it brought back memories of my stepfather and that particular incidence is especially etched in to my mind x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. February 24, 2015 at 1:33 AM

    It must have been quite a chore going through life with this character, Justine, downs and ups. You caught his edge quite well here, my friend. Brave for you to share this. I hope he didn’t turn that bluster on you or your mom. I felt bad for the shopkeeper and you in this little story. My father had his moments of big voice, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 24, 2015 at 7:52 PM

      it was certainly different but i spent most of my time at boarding school. Holidays took a bit of adjusting too then when i hit teenager years there was a bit of head butting going on to say the least lol x


      • February 24, 2015 at 10:39 PM

        I can imagine there was some conflict, Justine. Boarding school, holy cow. Did you like that?


  9. artseafartsea
    February 24, 2015 at 3:41 AM

    Very interesting character. Really liked the ballad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 24, 2015 at 7:53 PM

      Thank you glad you liked it and yes he was quite well known in the local area for his character hehe x


      • artseafartsea
        February 24, 2015 at 8:12 PM

        I believe that. hehe x

        Liked by 1 person

  10. February 24, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    She wrote a story of faded glory, mixed story of love and not. Of times gone by and good byes. Of bad times and bad rhymes. Oh what a story and now what a time to recall the memories. And move on to greater glory.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. February 24, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    It was a stroke of genious to use your step-father as the hero in your ballad. Rather than going with someone more typical, you engaged from the word go and compelled reading in order to find out just who this character was and what was his nature. The story at the end added to the overall understanding and had me feeling more than a little sad for you and your mum. It must have been exceedingly difficult to cope with this larger than life, rather overbearing, if I may say so, character who demanded rather than commanded respect. I, too, returned to the poem after reading the history and the new information included in the story added another dimension to the poem, particularly the last few lines. The desire to be swallowed up in the face of your embarrassment and that these things were nothing you could have factored in had me feeling more sorry for the little girl you were. It is indeed brave to write of experience and allow others to read and comment. I hope that through your writing and the comments I have read here and this, my own, that there is some comfort for that little girl who feels still to be there because of how the story ultimately played out.


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