Getting Dramatic With Ballads

In their tenth virtual poetry lesson 8th graders at Haugan Elementary explored dramatic storytelling. We discussed the “ingredients” that create drama, such as intense dialogue, interesting characters, conflict, and plot twists.

Students read the poem, “Ballad Of A Landlord” by Langston Hughes. A ballad is a story that is usually set to music. Ballads are made up of quatrains, four-line stanzas that rhyme, which gives the poem a musical quality. Hughes’s ballad tells the story of an incident between a black tenant and a white landlord. The tenant asks his landlord to fix the leaky roof and broken-down steps in his apartment. Instead of making repairs the landlord threatens to give eviction orders; eventually calling the cops when the tenant tries to stand up for his rights. Police, Police! / Come get this man!/ He’s trying to ruin the government/And overturn the land!” When the landlord overexaggerates the situation, it leads to the tenant being thrown in jail for ninety days without bail.

Students made a connection between this poem and what is occurring in the world today. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were victims of racial injustice. Black and brown people are often falsely accused of a crime, facing violence and even death by police.

Inspired by Langston Hughes, students wrote ballads, telling dramatic stories. Please enjoy these published poems.


Ms. Thomas 8th Grade
Group 1


The Ballad of the Vase
By: Jasmine F.

What was that
Slowly booking down short stairs
I see a vase
The one from high upstairs

Stepping each stair board
My siblings follow me as if it was a tour

Mother heard something smash
And let me tell you
She looked so angry steam could have come out of her ears
But the others couldn’t tell

*cRACkLe CRackLe*
She grabbed the broom and started to sweep
Not gently, or softly or even slowly
But full of anger
I can’t tell you the rest I guess this is a cliffhanger

But just so you know it did not end up pretty


The Ballad of Mother
By Jonathan J. 

Dear mother, ohh mother
Could I please play my games?
I’ve been working so hard
Doing chores all day!

Ooh son, ohh my son
What about those grades?
Working so hard?
Work on those grades!

Mother, dear Mother
Please mother, I’ve been working on chores.
Don’t have time for grades.
The boys are waiting,
I don’t have all day!

Ohh boy, ohh boy
Where are your MANNERS?


The Ballad Of The Restaurant
By Landis V. 

A restaurant sweeter than the amount of candy to rot your teeth.
A restaurant witch was great with customer servers.
A great restaurant you’ve been going for years,
A restaurant that is no more.

Tears as wet as the sea
Moping as down as the town pit.
He asks him self why as many peoples are in the ground.
The owner answers with a answer as clear as glass.
“I’m old I’ve been alive 100 times longer than you.
No ones left to run it.

You think with a moment of gleam and say,
“I’ll run it until I run dry”
He has a depressed look on his face
He says “Sorry the bank has it now and now its theirs”

You attempt work, work, and work.
Saving as many pennies as drops of water in the ocean
But in the end your a thousand dollars short
The owner says “I’ll give a grant if you promise to use it on this.”

You agree with a smile as big as the grand canyon.
You get the restaurant and the first thing you do
is post the picture of the old man.



Ms. Thomas 8th Grade
Group 2


The Ballad of Ragnar Lothbrok
By Fernando D.L.S.

From a farmer to a king
Ragnar Lothbrok did his thing
What the gods had in store for him…
Not even the blind man could see

A farmer from Norway heard somethings
Of a new land with several kings
So he went and asked his Earl
To which he refused for the sake of his girl

So the farmer sought more help
From a few warriors who needed self help
They sailed to England in three boats
Then they raided like awful boars

Five years later that farmer was king
And the whole world knew of his name
Ragnar Lothbrok the Viking
That men’s still a legend to the day.


The Ballad of Love
By Cindy H.

I’ve fallen for you.
For no reason at all.
A invisible being watching you smile.
Listening to your call.

Alex and Edith s i t t i n g in a tree.
As the song plays in my head over and over again.
She looks at me not knowing how much more in love I become.
I will love her forever now and then.

I only see her at music practice.
Melody of her violin hypnotize me into her love potion.
She spoke to me once… “um? Hello? You forgot your scarf at practice.”

Her eyes ocean blue.
Her hair snowy white.
Her red nose, shivering for warmth.
Her voice, so pretty I would never get tired of hearing it.

She sleeps so cutely.
The first thing that she does when she comes home is jump right on her bed.
Her friends sometimes have sleepovers and watch scary movies.

If only I could hold her when she’s scared.
If only I could be in her room and not always be in this tree.
If only I could lay with her and make her laugh.

If only I wasn’t a stalker…


The Ballad of the Missing Teen
By Magaly O.

Day goes by slowly while
time is ticking.
Dark night, heading towards the lights
friends are drinking.

Fun continues on while it lasts.
Usually hanging out with these million of friends.
Not overthinking anything
While many children go missing.

Finally it’s time to go
heading home towards the lights.
Friends coming along
Making sure you’re alright.

Time is key here.
Crossing the bridge while it keeps on stretching.
You scream for your life while there is laughing in the back.
Where are you? Why does it feel like you’re in a fridge?

Tears fall down while they sparkle
While your not missing anymore,
Your family finally found you.
They still wish to be kissing you.

Your time has come
The pain begins sticking onto us.
No goodbyes but we’re still missing you.
Time has been ticking from the start…



 Ms. Thomas 8th Grade
Group 3


The Ballad of Reality (based in a k- drama )
By Darlin A. 

All the people will say am, ugly.
Getting bullied is not fun.
Getting laughed at is the worst.
I wish I could cover my face…
And that is what I did.

Learning how to put on makeup was difficult.
It was hard, god help me I say.
The first time putting on make up was the worst.
People laughing at me.
I was confused and used.
They took pictures and more pictures.
So I learned more and changed schools.

I’m afraid it will happen again.
All this will go to waste.
Day and night I look at my self.
Seeing my face full of pimples.
“Eww this is my face,” I say.

I’m real and I’m fake
All the makeup makes me another person.
They are all kind and respectful, for now.
I am scared they will find the real me.

I have a boyfriend and I have friends.
One knows the real me….
She stabs my back and tells EVERYONE…
Who am I …


The Ballad of School
By Dyson J.L.

School school
Why is it so dramatic?
Why can’t it be as quiet as
An empty attic

It’s always something happening
A never ending road
But when you’re near it tends
To just end

Peace and silence
But you wonder to yourself why
They’re serving pie
What a great lunch!

Maybe today could be the day
You can finally relax
But you come home to your parents
Arguing about who ate all the snacks.


Ballad Of The Twin Towers
By Yoselin R.

Oh Father please,
don’t go to work
please, just stay
here for today.

No sweetie, no
I can’t miss a single day.
But father please
We can eat chocolate cake.

No sweetie, no
I must work today
For a better life
and chocolate cake.

He puts his suit on
And his shiny shoes
With his part leather bag
He’s ready to go.

The father smiled
While his son hugged him tight
Not knowing that was the last hug
he will ever feel.

He hears the explosion
His eyes grew big as the fire
With tears of dirt
He calls for help,
As his eyes close faster than the time,
He disappears.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.