HEROINE: BALLAD: Anaphora and Epistrophe

Day SIX: Writing 201

The Ballad form lends itself to the telling of a story, a dramatisation of a subject, here a Heroine, and has a musical effect by means of devices like repetition of words or phrases, at the beginning (anaphora), or at the end (epistrophe) of a sentence or a clause, or as a refrain (whole sentence or stanzas repeated).  It also uses assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) and consonance and alliteration.

The ballad stanza is a quatrain (4 lines), with the rhyme-scheme ABCB or ABAB, and the lines are usually iambic (da DUM) tetrameter  (8 syllables) followed by iambic trimeter (6 syllables).

Now to get down to the nitty-gritty of it ! After the first four stanzas, it kind of wrote itself out !!

The Red ROSE

A rose in hand, a rose in hair,

A rose that bloomed  ev’ry morn,

So too, she was, in demeanour fair,

Her beauty tho’ hid thorns.


This world, she knew, worshipped allure,

No matter what the core;

No matter how rotten or false,

Appearance held the score !


She’d seen how success fared so well —

Goodwill, good wealth, just ask

But never ever raise issues,

For, down would fall those masks.


And so, Red Rose, she rose in life,

By hiding all her thorns;

She hid her faults and vices too,

None knew she’d grown such horns.


Yet, within lay a dormant seed

In her innards fallow;

In slow cadence, it rose silent,

From her depths hallowed.


One day she found her life had changed,

Her conscience spoke aloud,

She left behind all marks of pomp

And vanished sans a sound.


Whither, Red Rose, are you, whither?

Decayed or dead ? friends mourned,

Red Rose did bloom afield, unknown,

In hearts of those she owned.


For True Love, she found, amidst the sad,

Among the poor, and frail,

She found therein, her one true love,

And much her heart to regale.


As masks wore off, and pretence dropp’d,

Around her, people found peace

Without the sheen of outward props

Her radiance had increased.


One day, she met unsought, her mate,

Like her, he’d dropped his past,

Together they a new path forged

And found the world long last!

© Lakshmi S. Menon



  1. Wow!! I think your ballad is truly moving and so much attention to detail!…Fantastic! Plus, I loved your tip at the beginning, I’m having trouble getting into the groove of this poetry thing, and the tip helps a lot. Thanks! 😉

    • Glad you liked my first attempt at a ballad ! Thanks. As for the ‘tips’, I find writing the structural elements down before composing the poem, makes the difference between poems clearer. Otherwise everything is like a free-for-all. 🙂

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