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Crow Who Sails the Sea-A Ballad

by Europa

There was a Crow who flew above

The light and lively sea

His eyes they shone like lavender

But sooty black was he

As he one day did swoop to see

The fish below the waves

He saw beneath a creature dark

And gorgeous in all ways

“My my” Said he “What is this bird,”

“So beautiful and new?”

“Who swims below the briny sea”

“And yet flies as I do.”

And so the Crow returned each day

To see his only love

Dark and sooty black as him

But silent as a dove

One evening as he flew above

The surface and the bird

His strange and gorgeous love below

Looked up and spoke one word

“Come” The sea-bird urged the crow

“Dive down and live with me”

“I’ll take the sky away and you

Can live below the sea”

“But love” The Crow did whisper back

“I cannot leave the sky”

“But I can take you up, my dear”

“The birds are meant to fly.”

But then the Sea-bird shook her head

Her eyes were now aglow

“I cannot fly, my dearest love”

“For I am trapped below.”

“My beauty sweet, my sea-bird strange

As dark and winged as me

What keeps you here below the sky,

Trapped underneath the sea?

The sea bird looked upon the crow

With sadness in her eye

She said to him, her black-bird love

“this is the place I died.”

“I’ve been trapped below the sea

Where I will never fly

But all this I can bear, my love

If you will just be mine”

There was a crow who flew above

The light and lively sea

Who trapped himself below the waves

So they could both be free.

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1220 Reviews

Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220

Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:26 pm
Kale wrote a review...

I love this poem so much. You have a story here (which a lot of modern ballads are a bit lacking in in favor of adhering to the conventions of the form), and it's a solid one. I really enjoyed reading this, and I felt that the ending was just perfect, being happy but not sappy.

With that said, there were a few lines that the rhythm tripped up in. This line in particular stook out like a sudden reef the first time I read through:

As he one day did swoop to see

The fix for this one s pretty quick, simply move "he" to after "one day", and I'm honestly puzzled why you went with this structure rather than the more conventional one because the conventional one works just fine when it comes to the flow.

As it stands, the current structure requires the reader to stress "he" when the word is not typically emphasized when next to a word like "one", and so it feels rather unnatural to make it read so.

Looked up and spoke one word

My quibble with this line is that immediately after, she speaks even more words, so while "one word" works wonderfully from a rhythmic standpoint, it doesn't make much sense in the flow of events.

I think, considering you have the crow whispering back in reply, going with "hard-heard" would make more sense since it would tie into the softer volume of the crow's reply.

“I’ve been trapped below the sea

This is another line where I feel the rhythm could be tweaked by swapping "I've been" from the start to the end of it.

But all this I can bear, my love

I also feel a different conjunction would be better than "but" since, as far as conjunctions go, "but" tends to get stressed when it's used, which throws off the intended stress of "all". "Yet" would work, as would "though", and help more naturally shift the stress onto "all" where it belongs.

Something else I noticed as I was reading through a second time was that your punctuation and capitalization were quite inconsistent, particularly with regards to quotation marks. I would recommend sticking to prose conventions rather than having them at the start and/or end of every line as it makes keeping track of which of the characters is speaking easier.

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1712 Reviews

Points: 117956
Reviews: 1712

Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:08 pm
BluesClues wrote a review...

I'm curious as to what improvements you think this really needs. You maintain the rhythm and flow of a ballad, as well as the rhyme scheme, throughout. And it never feels like you had to stretch for a rhyme - it never sounds awkward or like you only used a certain word, one that doesn't make sense, so that the lines would rhyme. I think the romance aspect is really nice, although it also makes the ending, depending on how you look at it, almost a little creepy: on the one hand, it's sort of sweet that crow doesn't even question joining his love, but on the other hand I know this means he dies at the end.

Although that said, I guess the last line sort of feels a little counterintuitive. Death might be freeing, depending on your viewpoint, but he's trapped beneath the waves now, and his love already said that she was trapped - so it doesn't feel much like they can "both be free" now, unless it's free to love each other, I suppose. She did say it'd be all right if only she could be with him.

Just a few weird spots for me.

His eyes they shone like lavender

Why lavender? The color is far from the usual eye color of any living creature, and the flower definitely doesn't shine. That one kind of threw me.

Trapped underneath the sea?

"Underneath" feels like it gives this line one too many syllables - I know you've used them a lot in this poem, but "below" or "beneath" or even "under," which you haven't used as much, would flow better.

And I think that's it for me.

This review courtesy of

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8 Reviews

Points: 1199
Reviews: 8

Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:15 pm
darklady wrote a review...

This is beautiful! It's well written, although I don't think you need as many speech marks as you have (let the speech run until it's finished, then close the speech marks, instead of opening new ones because it's a new lie). I love the story and I love the rhythm to it. I love the concept of the crow and the seabird meeting. I love the romance aspect. :)

The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; my heart is at your festival.
— William Shakespeare