The Ballad Of Bobby Boy

7개월 전

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Spoken version

The cold howling wind was whistling
when he staggered from the bar
I remember you remarking
that he wouldn't get that far

And aye, you were right then
although I wish you'd been wrong
The last we heard of Bobby Boy
was a slurring distant song

He had poured his heart out
between pouring whiskey rye
Knocking back each double
til the bottle had run dry

And how the bar flies had flitted
round that amber relief
But not one who drank with him
had seen the man beneath

They had nodded to his stories
aye they raised a glass in cheers
But each had looked the other way
as his whiskey mixed with tears

I thought of him as a stranger
though I saw him every night
His words had tore at my heart strings
but I didn't see he was alright

I just sat there on my bar stool
and flashed him a parting smile
Though I could have left then
and walked with him the first mile

He made it as far as the bridge
but he didn't make it home
Often I think of Bobby Boy
standing on that ledge alone

The wind screaming a gale round him
his tears lost in the rain
I hope at least he found comfort
where that plaque bears his name

He had left the bar a drunkard
who'd been looking for a friend
But had only found the bottle
and drank it to his end

Image Source




Entry to @theinkwell content the Thursday Poetry Challenge.




This week's prompt word is legend, and the optional challenge is to write a ballad based on the word prompt. I like structured forms for poetry, and got a lot out of writing this. This story is based on a truth told to me in a bar I worked in, I don't know the mans name, or the details of his real story, or if the person who told me had known him or was simply passing it on. I don't even know if he was a real person, or an amalgamation of many, but it really stuck with me. Not long after hearing it, I was cycling home from a late shift in a club. I was coming along the river in the dark when I saw a bundle in the grass by the water. I got off and went over to a pair of shoes, bag and a neatly folded coat by the bank. It was how neat it was. The woman wasn't far away, she hadn't jumped yet. We talked it out for an hour or so until a rather worried friend of hers found us and took her home. I didn't swap contact details, never heard from her again, but every now and then i think of her and hope she was okay. Don't wait for someone else to step up.


If anyone would like to give me extra feedback, could I have got away with saying "but I didn't see him right"?. I wasn't sure how much of a British phrase it was, and how much it would carry. What I've used instead ("but I didn't see he was alright") is probably less unmistakable, but "see him alright" has more proactive undercurrent than making sure someone is okay, seeing someone right is more making sure someone is taken care of, it has more of an action to it than just asking if someone is okay. I feel like "I didn't see him right" also carries to current of the responsibility we have to each other as humans which "see he was alright" lacks but then I wasn't sure how it would work with an international audience. I feel like I would probably go with" see him right" if i was submitted it anywhere else, what do people think? Any notes and pointers are always appreciated.

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@letalis-laetitia, Sometimes we stuck with those memories which adds Meaningful essence. Stay blessed.

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Hi @letalis-laetitia

Just wanted to let you know that if you use @steempeak you will now see an @theinkwell badge on your homepage as an active writer and contributor to our community. It is a small thank you from us to you for getting involved and sharing your work with The Ink Well.

Thanks for joining us in the drive to bring more creative writing back to steem :)

It sure tells a great story! Drew me right in. Some great insights and plenty of pathos. Excellent story line. I love this.
I did have trouble with the line you discuss at the end of your post, stupid American am I. I thought you meant how the other drinker viewed Bobby boy - was BB OK? Not that he felt he should have seen that he remained OK by walking him past the bridge.

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I just listened to the recording. Spoken, I can understand the line as you meant it to be understood. Very nice job!

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I am the worst ever at replying to people, but thank you so much, this was really useful feedback <3 its amazing how internalized my view becomes, and i find it hard to see things from another position, so i am always exceptionally grateful for comments that give me that insight.

A wonderful and tragic Ballard @letalis-laetitia

But had only found the bottle
and drank it to his end.

There are many points to recommend this poem from a technical standpoint:

He had poured his heart out
between pouring whiskey rye

The repetition here of the image of 'pouring' works to reinforce the imagery of pouring ones heart out. It underpins that alcoholic maudlin malady that an alcoholic gets, that wallowing in sorrow as the drink flows.

But not one who drank with him
had seen the man beneath

They had nodded to his stories
aye they raised a glass in cheers
But each had looked the other way
as his whiskey mixed with tears

Beautifully tragic and poignant if you've ever worked in a pub and seen this type of lonely soul. Interesting in their own way, but trapped in a land of memory.

I also love that you accomplished the challenge so well. The ballad rhymed and followed structure, and it told a story through action.

Thanks for joining in the poetry challenge and welcome to The Ink Well community :)

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