Both Sides

This is a poem in the form of a ballade.

I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are sons of the Most High.
Nevertheless you will die like men
And fall like any one of the princes.”
(Psalms 82:6-7 NASB)

When power over the world does excite,
Then everything begins to go awry,
As up becomes down, and wrong becomes right,
For those who do this frightful trade ply.
And those who loosen every human tie,
Find in their work a secret kind of fame
That does their common destiny belie,
For they try to play both sides of the game.

When goodness is punished, we blame our plight,
When right is wronged, we often seek to die,
When darkness surrounds, we seek heaven’s light,
And to God in heaven aloud we cry.
And God does steadfast faith and hope supply,
When our lives and names are covered with shame,
And we call on Him, and hear His reply,
But you still play both sides of the game.

The two sides of the coin are black and white,
But to win the game you don’t need to vie,
For you take every side in the fight,
As you look down on the world from on high.
You despise the people on whom you spy,
But what you hated is what you became,
Mixing good and bad does real good deny,
And you still play both sides of the game.


Prince, your power and might we can’t deny,
But when goodness and filth are both the same,
Then someday you will fall from the sky,
You, who still play both sides of the game.

The ballade (pronounced “buh LODD”) is a form of poetry that was used in medieval and Renaissance French verse. The ballade was traditionally addressed to a prince. In English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer used the ballade form, and other English poets began to use the form again in the 19th century.

The ballade usually has 3 eight-line stanzas (octaves) and a concluding four-line stanza (quatrain). This is the rhyme scheme for the three octaves: ababbcbC. This is the rhyme scheme for the concluding quatrain: bcbC. The conclusion is called an envoy. The capital letter C represents a refrain that is repeated at the end of each stanza. The difficult part in writing the ballade is finding the 14 words for the b rhymes.

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