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In Competition 29 you were asked for a ‘balladette’, a term of LUPO’s very own invention, comprised of the last twelve lines of the traditional ballade. Though some competitors had to be disqualified for flouting the infant form, or forgetting the second refrain, a diverse band managed to come up with a response on a variety of topics, from Moroccan misadventures to the difficulty of shaping even a shrunken ballade. It remains to be seen whether this formal innovation pioneered by intrepid LUPO experimenters will go viral in the global verse community.

Below, in no particular order, is the selection that survived judicial scrutiny.

Balladette Of A Gilded Cage

It seems a weary lifetime since
   you fell into this golden snare.
Affaire de coeur-ing with a prince,
   he seemed so dashing, debonair;
   but, married, you’re his stabled mare.
You wear posh frocks, and cross your knees,
   and wave and smile as people stare.
I dare you now: do as you please.

    Princess, you've given him an heir
And spare, the Crown's best guarantees.
    Will it outlast your pretty pair?
I dare you now: do as you please.

Mary McLean

Balladette of the Lucas Electrical System

In my vintage MGB
    On a sunlit summer day;
Panic sets in when I see
    Western skies becoming gray.
     Lucas lights will never stay
Lit when moisture's in the air;
     Voltage simply leaks away
Causing curses and despair.

    Prince of Darkness, tell me, pray,
Do you ever really care
   When your system sheds no ray
Causing curses and despair?

Douglas G. Brown

Balladette Of Imperfect Comprehension

The Japanese are really very nice.
    The Spanish are as friendly as can be.
The Turks have not a trace of any vice;
    Nor have the Greeks. Bulgarians are free
    Of meanness, guile or hatred. When I see
A Russian or a Basque, it makes my day.
   Belgians are beautiful. But as for me
I cannot understand a word they say.

    Prince, you are charming, suave and debonair;
You shine in court, casino and café;
    Your wit is legendary. Are you aware
I cannot understand a word you say?

Michael Swan

Balladette of  Blocked Circulation

There’s too much traffic, if you please,
    On every road and thoroughfare;
Too many trucks and SUVs
    And drivers who are quick to glare
    With middle finger in the air,
And other who, in texting modes,
    Forget about the lanes they share.
There’s too much traffic on the roads.           

     But mostly one’s just sitting there,
Unless the moving scene explodes,
    And then there’s chaos everywhere.
There’s too much traffic on the roads!

Mae Scanlan

 Balladette of Stray Cats

Why do the stray cats always head for me?
     I've tried discouragement, but still they come.
They sense that here the entertainment's free,
     my will is weak, one mew and I’m their chum.
     And I know where this newest lot is from:
Four little tuxies, rather short and fat.
     Their dad's a stranger, but I know their mum:
WHEN are my neighbors going to spay their cat?

    Neighbors, these episodes are worrisome.
Every few months a new male's up at bat.
    I cry to all the gods that life is rum:
WHEN are my neighbors going to spay their cat?

Gail White

Balladette of Parents to a Wayward Prince

The duty of our House is to decorum,
    which calls for royal libido to stay zippered.
Thus will your zeal to woo pert maids and score 'em
    ensure your family's name will soon be kippered.
    It won't suffice to have your wingtips clippered.
The honour of your family is at stake.
    One more louche tryst and we will have you snippered.
For God's sake, give the female sex a break!

    Prince, find yourself a girl and get be-nippered.
Make her the only icing on your cake.
    Until, like Pantaloon, you're lean and slippered
for God's sake, give the female sex a break!

Martin Parker

Balladette of Toilet Training

No flush system in the sticks,
    Hence the Elsan toilet’s reign
Whose gilt letters stamped, at six,   
    Wisdom deep throughout my brain
    Like a stick of rock’s refrain
As above black pungent juice
    I read something short and plain −
Please replace lid after use.

    Now in state, Prince, you have lain
Long enough, cheeks pale not puce,
    Let all heed these words again −
Please replace lid after use.

L.A. Mereoie