Posted by: Kathy | October 13, 2015

Come On, Bessie

The seventh Writing 201: Poetry assignment is neighborhood for the topic, ballad for the form, and assonance for the device. Since I completely skipped yesterday’s form of found poetry, I tried my hand at a ballad. Not easy. A ballad is composed of quatrains in an A, B, C, B pattern of rhyming. The hardest part was using the form of original ballads, in which the couplets (two lines) of each quatrain each contain 14 syllables. I did a lot of counting on my fingers :-). I could have written a sappy ballad about love, but instead chose the topic of my son learning to drive in our neighborhood. I hope this works.

Around and around we drive,
a true novice at the wheel.
We have passed neighbors several times
as he gets the feel.

Turn left, right, then left again,
the blinker is always used.
This red car has many miles,
she has truly paid her dues.

“Come on, Bessie,” he’s coaxed
on days when she just will not start.
But her value is so great,
with her we could never part.

My mom’s car for many years,
my dad passed it on to me.
With memories of my mom,
my son’s some day it will be.

My “I couldn’t care less” teen
can be sentimental too.
I sometimes think who loves this car more,
is it me or you?

Streets named for college mascots,
a fact I recently learned.
On these roads my son will drive
until his permit is earned.

Practicing his driving
on roads that have become well known,
and one day soon he will take my car,
driving on his own.


  1. Wouldn’t it be lovely if he just does that? 🙂

    • I thought he had tonight. We had a thunderstorm here and I had just gone food shopping. I parked closest to the house in my husband’s spot to bring in the bags. My son said he’d move the car to my spot and didn’t come right back in. I thought he had taken a spin on his own. No, he was just listening to music.

  2. I own a “Bessie” too. I love your poem!

    • My son said it one day and it stuck. Funny. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Oh how I relate to the driving lessons. MUCH older than you…years and years ago, we bought a second car that would be the one our kids would learn to drive in and then use to get them to their jobs etc….had our trusted mechanic check it out. It was, as they say, “a boat”…a big old car that would protect them if, God forbid, they got in an accident. And it already had so many dents, who cared? But it ran well. Our kids called it the Naugahyde Queen because it had some kind of faux plastic red leather or something on its top that was mottled and peeling! Ah, thanks for bringing back these fun memories! 🙂

    And yes, you did get the ballad form. I found it very hard to do and it took a long long time to write….so many scratches out in my journal. Check it out…opposite mood of yours, I’m afraid.

    So nice to meet you this morning over my second cup of coffee! 🙂

    • Thank you! I am having my second cup as well – brain still not functioning. Late night writing = shortened sleep. I will check out your ballad. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Remind me when my mom taught me to drive. Getting it started was the toughest part!

    • LOL. I refuse to teach my son to drive – we would kill each other. He’s taking driver’s ed through his school and it’s great! He should get his permit sometime this week or next. I’ve been letting him drive around our neighborhood as practice for about a year now.

      • My parents would have less gray hair if they had send me to drivers ed. They learned their lesson and saddled my brother and sister with that. My dad used to take me out driving and he’d freak out the entire time. He had one hand on the wheel and one foot poised to hit the brakes (and squash my foot in the process). We laughed about that just the other day. Now he is relearning to drive after his stroke and it’s mom’s hand on the wheel keeping the car steady, her foot creeping over the line between passenger and driver to smash the brake if he hesitates. He’s the one squashed against the door just like I was all those years ago. 🙂

        • My dad tried to teach me to drive, but we clashed too much and in the end he called driver’s ed. Best thing he could have done.

          • I ended up clashing with my dad until I got a license and I got that as soon as humanly possible!

  5. Love the sentiment in your poem, and your love for your family, your car, and neighborhood, rings out like a bell.

  6. car*

    • 🙂

  7. That is really good,So emotional.Attachment to the card,due to its emotional value…Very well written..I felt like being with you in the car! 🙂

    • Thank you. Fortunately, my son is actually a very good driver. 🙂

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