Posted tagged ‘poem about JFK assassination’

“First Grade, November 1963” – overly serious odd attempt at French Ballade

February 9, 2012
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(Doesn't Really Go With Poem, but Nice Drawing.)

Agh!  The wonderful dVerse Poets Pub, hosted by Gay Reiser Cannon, has a prompt to write another French Ballade today.  I find this a very difficult form–not so much because of the rhymes, but because it has a relatively short line–8 syllables, rather than my usual 10 or 11.  At any rate, here’s my second attempt.  (My first was two weeks ago and probably a bit better.  Both are a bit heavy for ballades–sorry!)

First Grade, November 1963

The day Jack was shot they put us
on the playground, our place for fun,
our place for recess, only dust
seemed to fill the air, a strange one
for November–was there some sun
showing overhead? Blur defied
blue; the word “assassination”–
we didn’t know that it meant died.

I mean, they told us, with some fuss,
the exact time, Dallas–and gun
flashed through our minds, surely it must
have, with that next combination–
“shot” and “head”–a conjugation
of the past tense (rarely denied).
But on the blacktop, our place to run–
we tried not to know that it meant died.

The older girls joined arms, their busts–
for their breasts had at least begun,
they ten or twelve–heaving with gusts
of young hearts’ plunge to the undone;
we feigned a game of horse, hair slung
about like reins, but the chase cried
out its halt, could not be won;
we could not not know that it meant died.

What to feel?  How not to let on?
Watching the big girls–hard they cried–
President shot–his name was John–
We didn’t know what it meant–died.

(As always, all rights reserved.)