“Johnny and His Love”–a Traditional Ballad by Paul Burgess

“Johnny and His Love”—a Traditional Ballad by Paul Burgess [I think the ballad would work nicely with the music of Fairport Convention’s rendition of “Mattie Groves” https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=fairport+convention+mattie+groves&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz2-ytff-msgr

“It’s time to carry out our plan.
It’s time to run away.
We’ll meet behind the rotting barn,”
Is what Johnny had to say.

As he helped his Ma to milk the cow,
His face would never show
That he planned no more to work the farm
‘cuz away with his love he’d go.

Before his Ma retired to sleep,
He gently kissed her head.
The roar of snores was Johnny’s cue—
He grabbed his bag and fled.

No tears escaped from Johnny’s eyes
When he left behind his nest.
He only thought of how it’d feel
To stroke his lover’s breast.

In the moon, her eyes like pyrite shined
And overwhelmed him with bliss.
Behind the barn he touched her cheeks
Then began her lips to kiss.

He lost his fight with the burning urge
To touch her nether lips
And was stunned by what his fingers found
Between his lover’s hips.

Meanwhile, Ma discovered Johnny gone
And loaded up her gun
Then whispered to herself, “Lover girl
Has seen her final sun.”

As Ma approached the rotting barn,
Prepared to blow away
The girl who’d stolen Johnny’s heart,
She heard her Johnny say,

“If this had been revealed to me,
I’d not have made this plan.
For never once did I intend
To love another man.”

His love replied, “You promised me
That whatever came to pass…”
But Johnny cut her off and said,
“I thought you were a lass.”

Ma dropped her gun and confronted them,
Her eyes aglow with glee,
And addressed these words to her only son,
“That’s your prize for leaving me.”


5 thoughts on ““Johnny and His Love”–a Traditional Ballad by Paul Burgess

  1. Pingback: “Johnny and His Love”–a Traditional Ballad by Paul Burgess | Miscellaneous Inanities

  2. mbarkersimpson

    I love the humour of this piece, the irony and the tone. I could hear the rhythm clearly in my mind, which added to the mischief and overall enjoyment of the ballad. Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘Johnny get your gun’ (sorry, that’s beneath me!).


    1. paulwhitberg Post author

      After writing this poem, I was surprised to find that it would go with “Mattie Groves;” until realizing how similar the two pieces’ rhythms were, I had not noticed that “Mattie Groves” was a ballad. This poem is probably the one I had the most fun writing. Thank you for your constructive comments. I love to know what works for people and why:)


      1. mbarkersimpson

        Me too 🙂 I appreciate all comments, but it’s the ones that tell me why a person enjoyed something I’ve written that help me grow. I once belonged to a site and had people who said ‘that was great’ or I really enjoyed it, and don’t get me wrong I appreciate feedback, but it began to feel like they were just blowing smoke up my ass or worse yet, not reading it at all! You got points for feeding back and to some people points mean prizes 🙂


      2. paulwhitberg Post author

        The “why” is always important. Without feedback, it is so hard to know what will connect with readers. The people who read carefully and provide constructive comments often make my day:)


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