Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ballad of Jack & the Fish


His name was Jack, trader & trickster

Of perfumes & tarot cards of death

Carrie was young, dolled in her sister's

grey clothes, carrying basket of baby's breath

They met under bony tree, dire of pears

To exchange a letter sealed by candle wax

With a grin, Jack bowed with gentleman's air

And she smiled, preening feathers & flax

Her purse full, she'll meet him by lodging house

Tomorrow when the night is grey silver

And air is wanton whiskey & roasted grouse-

Jack rides off, salivating with thoughts of glitter 

On a flesh cuddly soft as baby

Her swan neck, arching for fool's gold

Wait, what's her name?  Jack's brain was hazy 

His chest were knives, pressed so cold

With these blackouts, he was lost fish

Palm readings to find his landing, so tragic-

Carrie walked towards the market to buy fish

hooks.  Her dagger & cord, ready to work magic

Posted for dVerse Poets Pub - You Want It Darker, guest hosted by Lucy.  Dark themes in ballad poetry form.   Thanks for your visit and comments.  


  1. Oh... I love myself a great murder ballad. Love the tables turned, and now I want to listen to Nick Cave singing this in duet with Kylie Minogue.

  2. This is well done, Grace. I love the dark imagery and symbolism in your poem, and especially the dark humor at the end:

    "Carrie walked towards the market to buy fish

    hooks. Her dagger & cord, ready to work magic"

    I'm still cracking up. This flows so well and I especially adore the word-play in this piece. Fantastic work.

  3. A dark ballad indeed, Grace, with hints of Bertolt Ballad. I love the use of alliteration in ‘trader & trickster’, ‘basket of baby’s breath’ and ‘wanton whisky’. I also love the ominous tone and the clever enjambment in the lines:
    ‘Carrie walked towards the market to buy fish
    hooks. Her dagger & cord, ready to work magic’.

  4. Oh what a tale! Clash of the dark titans.

  5. i love to see the tables turned - this had the feel of something old and dark - a Beggars Opera song.

  6. Deliciously dark, Grace! I love how seamlessly you have wrought the ominous tone, and imagery that lingers long after one has read the poem. Inspired~💝

  7. Great work indeed, Grace. Darkalicious! Thanks

  8. Oh, darkness prevails in flowing lines that weave an ominous tale. Brilliant piece, Grace.

  9. This was a mysterious tale with a twist. Great description of the air. One wonders who is really the trickster in this ballad.

    air is wanton whiskey & roasted grouse-

  10. Conniving Jack had better watch out!! You won't fool her twice!!
    Well done Grace! Love your story!

  11. Alas poor Jack. His evil plan was thwarted. Yay Carrie!

  12. You certainly picked a dark story line, and so appropriate for a ballad!

  13. This was a fine bit of poetry Grace. I enjoyed the darkness. Well written.

  14. With a grin, Jack bowed with gentleman's air
    And she smiled, preening feathers & flax

    A classic start to dark elements of wanting to outwit! Nicely done Grace!


  15. Which one's the fish, is my question, and who hooked whom. Delightful.

  16. dark ballads are fun to read! Lots of good visuals like the "bony tree" and "wanton whiskey air" make this a a gem!


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