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Barbossa's Ballad


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15 replies to this topic  – Started by Duke , Jun 18 2011 02:08 PM

#1 Duke

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 02:08 PM

I love the idea of a contest based around writing rather than LEGO construction, so I had to give this one a go.  I think with a short word count limit, you can get a lot out of your words if you write in verse.  Trying to fit to a rhyme and rhythmn makes you think very carefully about what you want to say.  I also went for a fairly dark style.  Anyway, it was good fun writing this and I hope you enjoy reading it.

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On a midnight dark and stormy,
All lay still amid the town,
But on the ship that lay before me,
I clutched an Aztec golden crown.

A life of wealth, a life at sea,
A life of immortality
But life that's cursed with no need sated
Leaves little joy and all else hated.

We searched the sea, we scoured the land,
To find our blood gold 'mid the sand,
'Til sirens told us where to go,
Unto the fortress, El Dorado.

--

Moonlight pierced the umbral dark,
And showed us all as nought but bones.
It lit the harbour sentry's ark,
We sent him down to Davy Jones.

They heard the splash and rang the bell,
And musket shots rained on the sea
But this crew of mine from deepest hell,
We ran them through with savage glee.

They fought us long, they fought us hard,
Those noble soldiers in the yard.
'Til blood ran down the cobble stones
And mingled with the ocean spray.

I found the governor in a tower,
I knew that Broadside was his name
And though he died within the hour,
I felt I knew him all the same.

He told me where they hid the gold,
The mint arrived in sealed box
And there it dangled from a crane,
Above the jagged broken rocks.

Leaping swiftly from the ledge
I landed firm upon the chest
But caught the twine with just an edge
And fell away into the tempest.

Down it sank and down I swam,
Down to where it all began,
Down to nest upon the bed
'Mid weeds and wrecks and creatures dead.

My dead heart pounded in my chest
To lay this evil curse to rest.
I speared the lock and drove it home
But like my ship, the gold was pearl - not chrome!


Edited by Duke, 20 June 2011 - 12:04 PM.

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#2 buddy

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:31 PM

Great entry, I like that your entry is a poetic ballad and has a good ryhme and rhythm to it, without lacking any details of a story that doesn't rhyme would have. Another positive point about your entry is that the rhymes are cleverly thought out to give detail and show both PotC and Classic Pirates, such as the way you've made Eldorado Fortress fit into the rhythm by saying 'Unto the fortress, El Dorado.' Also, this rhyme has a pirate-like feel to it, as does the whole ballad. Also, I like how at the end it say that the gold was Pearl not Chrome, which reminds me of the recent gold colour issues with the PotC sets.  :pir-classic:

To improve, you could maybe add a little back story that refers to where Barbossa is singing this ballad, just a sentence or two at the start that gives a setting such as a tavern where Barbossa is a bit drunk and loud and wants to sing a ballad about his travels to impress other pirates there or the barmaids or a differnet backstory that you would prefer to mine.  :pir-tongue:

Well done on the entry, it is well written and flows well.  :thumbup:

~buddy~

#3 Bricks4Fun

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 06:51 PM

Duke

This was such a terrific read, thank you for posting it. I like how dynamic the entries in the contest have been; we've seen everything from scripts, to short stories and now, a poem. I concur with Buddy that you managed to work in so many themes into this and it was brilliant. The Bluecoats finding Aztec gold and later paying dearly for it is a very good POTC/LEGO pirates crossover. Furthermore, the joke at the end was perfect, I'm sure we all felt like Barbossa when we were cheated out of the shiny gold pieces in the POTC line! I must also say that I admire your boldness in submitting an entry that does not include Jack, giving us a different look at the characters from POTC. Finally, I really like the darker tone with which you wrote this, showing us the darker side of POTC. Both in style and content, your poem is, in my opinion, the most unique one yet. Strong work.

VERY minor stuff:

Broadside, as far as I know is actually a Governor, not an Admiral. I know there exist several controversies over the back stories for LEGO characters, but I remember he was always a Governor. Changing it wouldn't compromise your syllable count either, as 'Ad-mi-ral' is 3 just like 'Go-ver-nor'.

In the storyline of POTC, Barbossa and his crew detect signals of where the Aztec gold pieces are located when they touch the sea. In part 1, they do not show up to Port Royal until Elizabeth's coin touches sea water when she falls off the tower. This is what draws Barbossa and the Pearl to the Gold piece's location, Port Royal. There is no mention of sirens guiding them in the storyline, however, I personally think it fits very nicely in your entry. I am merely pointing out a discrepancy between what is there and the actual storyline. Again, I think your way works better.

Finally, I believe a ballad has a repeating phrase or refrain at the end of some or all of the stanzas. If you want to truly make it a full blown singing ballad, you could come up with a chorus for your poem uttered every other stanza. But again, what you have here is really good.

Just mere suggestions, as I truly believe you've got a real winner here either way. Good luck!

Edited by Bricks4Fun, 18 June 2011 - 08:26 PM.


#4 MstrOfPppts

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 02:10 PM

Hey there, this really is a unique entry. I love the story, the way you mixed in the classics and the ending chrome reference is also a nice touch! Making a poem really is a interesting chice and although I was a bit sceptic about it, after reading it, it changed my mind. I don't think there is any backstory needed since a poem is a poem and it should stay that way.

I only think that though most of the rhymes are great, some could be imporved. For example this one:
'Til sirens told us where to go,
Unto the fortress, El Dorado.
The 'El Dorado' should not be pronounced the way to rhyme with 'go' or it sounds wierd. Maybe a selection of different words may fix a thing here and there, or a completly redoing some sentences like this one into:
Til sirens gave us navigation,
El Dorado was our destination.

Also the words chest and tempest don't seem to make a rhyme. But these are only minor things that in my oppinion would polish the poem even more.

I'd also get rid of the paranthesis at hte end and make it into '... pearl - not chrome' or simply '... pearl, not chrome'. Your way it looks like the words in paranthesis are not the part of hte poem. Yes I know some might have already noticed I'm not a big fan of paranthesis in artistic writing!

Good luck in the contest!

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#5 Mr Spielbrick

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 02:26 PM

Brilliant! You've struck a nice balance between Classic Pirates and Pirates of the Caribbean. And the last line is of course great!

Oh, and re: MstrOfPppts - 'El Dorado' definitely DOES rhyme with 'go' in both English and Spanish, as far as I know. So it works perfectly well the way it was written.
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#6 MstrOfPppts

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 02:55 PM

Ok my mistake, maybe in english it does sound similar if you read it the english way. However I can't agree for spanish. I think in spanish it is more like - how to explain - a sharp o at the end and that's also how I read it. But the verb go in english is pronounced something like [gou] with an o lengthened a bit. It's not like go as the chinese version of chess. El Dorado in english though might be more like [El Doradow]. For example try typing that whole sentnce into google translate under english and click the listen button. You'll hear what I mean. It does sound similar, but not a rhyme for me ...

As already mentioned before I'm not a native speaker and might be wrong.

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#7 Tazmaniac

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:40 AM

I thought I knew who I was voting for thus far then you go and do this!Posted Image

Brilliant piece of writing Duke you have raised the bar in this competition.
Well done.

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#8 blackpyre

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:26 AM

Sweet!!!

You know you've got a winner when people begin pointing out minor descrepencies.  This is no fault or complaint since it shows how much they care about this piece.  

I think it's safe to say that you've definitely struck a chord with readers.  It's impressive to see a strong dark work that connects profoundly with readers.

And on top of all this you manage to add in additional complexity with rhyming verse.  Well done!

Now for my own criticism.

Put the prize you want to win somewhere in your post. ;)

That's really all I got.  Everyone else picked up the details.

Good luck in the contest.

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#9 Tazmaniac

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:45 AM

View Postblackpyre, on 20 June 2011 - 08:26 AM, said:


Put the prize you want to win somewhere in your post.

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#10 Duke

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

Firstly thank you all for your kind comments and suggestions, i'll try and address each seperately.

View Postbuddy, on 18 June 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:

...

Hi buddy, thanks for your well thought out comments.  I like the idea of an introduction a lot but unfortunately i'm up to the word count already on here and i'm not sure that i'd want to remove anything to make room for it!

View PostBricks4Fun, on 18 June 2011 - 06:51 PM, said:

...

Thanks for your comments, very thorough in both analysis and suggestion.  You picked me up on 3 areas where I lack depth of knowledge!  I'll certainly change the Admiral to a Governor to be more in keeping with the classic pirates saga.  I had forgotten that there was something to have guided the Black Pearl to Port Royal in the film, so I just made up the siren thing as you have obviously seen.  Thanks for enlightening me in that respect, I think it would have been hard to work in that whole detail into a short line!  Finally, a ballad. Shown up again  :pir-tongue: .  I think in this case I obviously can't use a repeating chorus because of the word limitations.  I really called it Barbossa's Ballad because of the alliterative name though I did feel I had given it something of the nature of a ballad (if only in motif).  Anyway, thanks again.  Helpful stuff.


View PostMstrOfPppts, on 19 June 2011 - 02:10 PM, said:

...

Hi MstrofPppts.  Firstly, i'm glad you liked it and changed your mind after seeing it was a poem. (I know a lot of people don't get on with poetry!)  With regards to rhymes of 'go' and 'El Dorado' there has been some discussion it seems.  Personally, I would definitely pronounce them in the same way but obviously pronunciation does vary.  For example I looked up the google translate pronunciation as you mentioned it.  It does some to be slightly different on there but with what I feel is an odd way of saying 'go'.  As for chest and tempest, I hesitated over including this as it's a bit of a half rhyme since the syllable count is different.  However the endings are the same sound.  It's one of the struggles of poetry to balance what you want to say with keeping the rhyme scheme.

Finally the (not chrome).  I guess I wanted it to almost be seperate from the poem as a little kind of out of character add-on.  Just for you though, I will change it to a hyphen!

View PostMr Spielbrick, on 19 June 2011 - 02:26 PM, said:

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Thanks for backing me up on the rhyming point of view :)

View PostWhiz, on 20 June 2011 - 06:40 AM, said:

...

Thanks!

View Postblackpyre, on 20 June 2011 - 08:26 AM, said:

...

Thanks very much, flattering commentary and I laughed at the criticism!
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#11 Bricks4Fun

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 12:08 AM

Duke

I really like the name "Barbossa's Ballad" and I agree with you in that it does have the feel of a Pirate song sung by many a sailor at sea. I wouldn't change the title regardless, as it is eye catching and identifiable. Not to mention Barbossa is my favorite character from POTC!

#12 SilvaShado

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

A very engaging ballad, for sure.  Some of the verse was off, but overall – very well done.  I really enjoyed the punch line of the gold being pearl not chrome.  

Below are my suggestions.  Feel free to take them or leave them.  I offer them in the hopes that they will help you.

I know this is quite a challenge, but most poems keep to the same pattern throughout.  It’s not a requirement, but it helps keep the rhythm going.  You’ve mixed abab and aabb as well as no pattern at all.  Here are the verses that I recommend fixing to have either the abab or aabb pattern.

The last two lines have no rhyme:
They fought us long, they fought us hard,
Those noble soldiers in the yard.
'Til blood ran down the cobble stones
And mingled with the ocean spray.

The first and third line to not rhyme:
He told me where they hid the gold,
The mint arrived in sealed box
And there it dangled from a crane,
Above the jagged broken rocks.

I’d also check with the contest organizers that a poem is acceptable.  I’ve entered contests before that were story contest and those who entered poems were disqualified regardless of how good their poem was, but because it wasn’t a story.

Good luck in the contest!

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#13 MstrOfPppts

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 04:38 PM

Yes I also noticed this one, but I already went to far with my rhymes :D So I'll just add my opinion now that it is mentioned. While it is clear you mostly use the most common aabb and abab pattern of rhymes adding a third one is acceptable since the ballad is quite long - after all it has 11 verses. There for I'd say you keep the abcb one and replace the aabc with either to aabb or abcb if it's possible.

I prefer the verse ending in rhyme (either to second or third line) to the one that ends freely even if the lines before that don't rhyme.

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#14 Red Bricks

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 07:58 PM

My eyes lit up when I saw the title  :pir_laugh2: (I'm a massive Barbossa fan), I really like this poem, good luck with the competition

Edited by Red Bricks, 21 June 2011 - 07:58 PM.


#15 Duke

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 08:38 PM

View PostSilvaShado, on 21 June 2011 - 02:04 PM, said:

...

View PostMstrOfPppts, on 21 June 2011 - 04:38 PM, said:

...
Thank you both for your shared concerns about the rhyme scheme, it is clear that you have examined my entry in some detail!  With regards to the first lack of rhyme 'mingled with the ocean spray' I should say that I chose to avoid rhyme for effect.  A lack of rhyme can leave a unsettled feeling for the reader, and that's what I wanted to create to go with the scene of the soldiers being killed.

The second point you raised, with the crane (ha!).. I must say that I struggled to find an appropriate rhyme.  Rather than choosing to warp my poem into another direction just to succeed with the rhyme, I decided to go ahead with a non rhyming pair.  I'll try and have a further think about this one.


View PostRed Bricks, on 21 June 2011 - 07:58 PM, said:

...
Thanks, i'm glad you enjoyed it.
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#16 Zilcho

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:24 PM

Hi Duke.

This is a very original entry. I like the poem format because, as you said, the limited words can develop into a better and more interesting story. The poem format does, however, make the story slightly harder to follow. I like your picture as well, it is nice and sets the scene.

Other than that this is a very good story and it is very captivating, well done and good luck!




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