Writing 201: Hero(ine)

Day Six: Hero(ine), Ballad, Anaphora, Epistrophe

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… someone heroic, whether in real life or in fiction. Today’s form: ballad. Today’s devices: anaphora and epistrophe.


Hmm, an outsized personality woven into a ballad, with a cluster of repeated words either at the beginning or end of a line. I have no skill in rhyming or getting the rhythm just right, but I’ll give this ballad form a try.

Perhaps an historic figure would serve as a proper subject for a ballad. Perhaps a tragic historic figure, say someone with a shady past? Perhaps a outlaw, someone who was shunned by good churchgoing law-abiding folk? A woman worthy of a ballad, the Comstock’s best-known “soiled dove,” a woman regarded as a folk hero and friend to the miners and firemen of Virginia City.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Julia Bulette:

The Ballad of Miss Julia

She was the Belle of Virginia City
loved by mining men.
There was none quite so pretty
as Miss Julia, noble madam.

She’d walk through town in sables
Smiling to all she knew
She played at cards and tables
of chance when’er she could.

But the wastrel Millain robbed her, robbed her
He stabbed her, leaving her for dead.
Yes that villain robbed her, robbed her,
leaving her for dead.
Boys, hang down your head in pity
for Miss Julia dying in her bed.


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