Poem: Ballade Pour les Misérables


Since I have not been posting much recently, I wanted to share a poem I wrote that I have not posted publicly yet. This is perhaps one of the most complex pieces I wrote. It is my first attempt at writing a poem using the Ballade form. 

A ballade is structured as such: It is split into three octaves (eight-lined stanzas) and one quatrain (a four-line stanza). This one I wrote about homeless people I saw around Liverpool and on my travels, and I hope you enjoy it.

Ballade Pour les Misérables (Song of the Wretched)

Wander the streets and you cover your eyes.

The young and the homeless, the old and the wild.

Our bodies are dirty in this tatty guise.

Though our manner and motives are only mild.

When offered some money, the old man smiled.

You think we’re all addicts and we’re playing games.

That’s insane, that we are so cruelly reviled.

For we are the wretched, and we have no names.


Come forth wretched souls, let your bodies arise.

From our homes, our souls taken, and still are exiled.

The teen mother abandoned, bitter tears she cries.

To the lover whose clothes were burned and defiled.

For our demons, we are so cruelly reviled.

For our treatment, feel our collective shames.

Our stories and trauma are fully compiled.

For we are the wretched and we have no names.


There is a big problem that underlies.

That one is raised with since they were a child.

We must gather our forces, our friends and allies.

To defeat this perception that has been beguiled.

This perception that makes us all cruelly reviled.

To take ignorance and throw it in flames.

To ensure that no more are shamed an exiled.

For we are the wretched and we have no names.


To the girl on the street who has been defiled,

The victim who police ignore all their claims.

We are a legion so cruelly reviled,

For we are the wretched and we have no names.








About the author


Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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