The changeling

After writing a Minute poem, which was okay as far as it went, I thought I’d extend the idea to make a true ballad form.

The changeling

They came and stole my child away,
on silent feet,
that flew so fleet,
they came and stole my child away,
one bright and sunny day.

They’d cast a spell upon my sleep,
the crib they found,
made not a sound,
they’d cast a spell upon my sleep,
I dreamed in shadows deep.

I dreamt I saw a fairy host,
with faces bright,
that lit the night,
I dreamt I saw a fairy host
that stole what I loved most.

And when at last I raised my head,
saw gold-bright hair,
a sea-blue stare,
and when at last I raised my head,
my heart was filled with dread.

Yet sometimes on a midnight clear
I hear my child,
so free and wild,
yet sometimes on a midnight clear,
her happiness I hear.

My fairy child you’ll have no throne,
gold in your hair,
nor gold to wear,
my fairy child you’ll have no throne,
but I will love you as mine own.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

25 thoughts on “The changeling”

      1. It doesn’t have a a good rhythm to it, too many short lines. Also, like all those short syllable counting poems, we fixate on the number of syllables and ignore the beats. I don’t see the point of that.

  1. Oh Jane, this is lovely – all your poems are, but definitely that last bit got to me the most. (I wrote you a long email update a few weeks ago, I think it might have showed up in your spam mail since I didn’t hear back, spam! HAHAHA) I hope you’re doing well!

      1. Yes, I got a virus on Outlook and I couldn’t open it without all my internet connections crashing. It had already gone into hibernation anyway, not letting me send mails. I daren”t even open it to see if I still have an account!
        I’ve read your mail (it got here) and I’ll get back to you after lunch. Thanks for persevering 🙂

    1. It’s true, there’s nothing in the rules of the minute poem that says it has to have a rhythm, but when you can make a clunky line scan just by changing the words, why wouldn’t you? The rhythm you get with the minute poem is an odd one though to my ear.
      I like this painting. It isn’t specifically a changeling child, but it could be.

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