Writing 201:Poetry – Day 6 – “The Ballad of Sister Mary Margaret

Today’s subject is heroes and heroines. The form is the ballad. And the poetic technique that we are to use is anaphora or epistrophe (simply the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning or end of lines for the sake of emphasis). So I have given you the story of the bravest nun in the west: Sister Mary Margaret.
(Town of Petticoat Ridge, Nevada, circa 1868)

Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down:
I guess you’d say the story’s set in stone.
Our town is now quite famous, and the tourists flock around.
And it’s for sure the credit’s hers alone.

But Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down.
She did wait for somebody else to act.
But since no man among us would move to save the town,
The sister did her duty well; that’s fact.

But Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down:
You see, a bull came charging down Main Street –
Stompin’, snortin’, chargin hard at people all around –
And all the folks made haste in their retreat.

Poor Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down:
She had just finished services at church.
She stepped out to the street; her smile became a frown.
Her gold-rimmed glasses on her nose she perched.

Ahh, Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down:
The bull so wild was goin’ to take a life.
Up came her skirt; her petticoat she ripped it right around:
A petticoat as RED as cherries ripe!

Poor Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down:
The gasps of horror echoed through the air.
For no one – not one single person ever could condone
A nun who wore bodacious underwear.

Sad Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down.
But at her petticoat that bull did charge.
And Sister Mary Margaret taunted him right out of town,
And off the cliff that bull she did discharge.

But Sister Mary Margaret will never live it down.
Poor Sister Mary Margaret will never, never, never live it down.


NaPoWriMo – Day 25 – A Ballad

I’m fudging just a little on today’s prompt – a ballad – because I did not write this poem today. I actually wrote it some time ago.  However, taking the definition of ‘ballad’ in its simplest form — a rhymed poem that tells a story — this piece fits the criteria perfectly. And since it’s a poem I enjoy very much myself, I decided I’d take advantage of today’s prompt to share it with you.

I should probably add that the poem is based on a true event that I read about a couple of years ago. There really was a couple that had this experience during World War II, and there actually was an operator whose kind heart helped save their romance.


I read about a Navy guy;
‘Twas during World War II;
He felt that he was so in love
But one thing he could do.

He was on leave, New England way,
And running out of time;
Snowed in, he could not meet his love.
His only hope – a dime.

So in the pay-phone booth, he dialed
The zero. Faith was high.
He told his soulful story to
The operator, Vi.

He gave the number for his love,
St. Louis her address,
And Vi said, “There’s no promises,
But I will try my best.”

So, hanging on the line out east,
The sailor heaved a sigh
And waited with a pounding heart
Till he heard back from Vi.

“I have your party, sir,” she said,
Three minutes’ worth of time.”
“Three minutes!” cried the sailor.
“That isn’t enough time!”

His darling’s voice broke through the wire,
Her voice so light and thrilled,
“What great surprise, your calling now!
I heard you’re snowed in, Bill.”

“Yes, dear, and now I can’t get there
Before my leave is through,
But there is something vital that
I have to say to you.

“You know I’ve loved you for a while;
And I have to know for sure — “
But Vi broke in just then to say,
“We’ve lost connection, sir.”

“Oh, no!” he cried. “You’ve got to help!
I’m ready to propose!
I couldn’t go back overseas
Unless I’m sure she knows!”

“I’ll try again,” Vi said, but then — 
Back on the line, so sad — 
“I can’t get you connected, sir;
The weather is so bad.

“But I can hear your party, sir,
And it seems she can hear me.
If you’d want me to relay your words,
I’d do so happily.”

He heaved a sigh, wiped tear from eye,
And drew deep breath somehow.
“All right,” he said. “It’ll have to do;
I need her answer now.

“Please say, ‘ I’m so in love with you
That before I go to sea,
I’m asking you to be my wife;
Please say you’ll marry me.'”

So Vi relayed the message sweet;
He waited in a stew
‘Till Vi came back online and said,
“She’d love to marry you!”

BLUE TELEPHONENow many years have come and gone;
The couple made their home.
And in every room the pride of place
Goes to the telephone.


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