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The Inferno and the Combatant

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Floetry Fridays with Nicole

This week’s poem is called “A Ballad of Hell” written by John Davidson, and was one of my personal favorites growing up in a horror-obsessed household…Thanks dad. Anyways, the themes of this poem are around betrayal, self-identity, but most importantly strength. A woman is led to believe that by committing a love-suicide she will be able to freely be with her lover, who is “forced” to wed his cousin. However, it turns out that while she keeps her side of the bargain, she wakes up in hell and is told by the Devil that he is not there and lied. She stays in hell in denial of her lover’s plot to be rid of her and only after what could be a millennium of waiting for him, she realizes that he will never come and that she deserves better. The inferno is not meant for her pitied and tricked soul, but instead she knows she should be in a place of light and marches up towards the gates of heaven.

This twisted, sad and somewhat scary poem deals with the everyday tales of people succumbing to tragic lives because of their inability to understand their self-worth. Many go seeking the darkness because of temptations that they cannot escape. The need to satisfy this craving of love that they believe is the only answer to happiness. However, that is not the case. This woman finally understood that she deserved better than to burn in hell for someone who did not care nor love her back, and that her misery will not be his win. Instead, she grew the strength to march OUT OF HELL itself and tell the tortured beings that she will not be another victim to burn alone in the depths of a place that has never defined her soul. Her resilience even in death, is something that is inspiring and should be emphasized during the realm of life.

This poem is the yin and yang of reality. That sometimes things do not end the way we hope and instead of sacrificing ourselves to the hell in our minds, we should instead always find truth in our pain and use that to fight back. To know our worth, to not let a grand mistake cost us an eternity of suffering for the maliciousness of others. That our fates are always in OUR hands, even when it would appear all else has failed. This woman deserved that “hoarse, half-human cheer” and we all do too. Below is the link for anyone who wants to read this poem for themselves and feel the power of this woman’s bravery.


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