Relationships between two people can have a strong bond and through poetry can have an everlasting life. The relationship can be between a mother and a child, a man and a woman, or of one person reaching out to their love. No matter what kind of relationship there is, the bond between the two people is shown through literary devices to enhance the romantic impression upon the reader. Through Dudley Randall’s “Ballad of Birmingham,” Ben Jonson’s “To Celia,” and William Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” relationships are viewed as a powerful bond, an everlasting love, and even a romantic hymn.
The “Ballad of Birmingham” is a poem created to remember a horrific event and view a strong relationship between a mother and her daughter during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama. Dudley Randall expresses their relationship through a ballad, as if writing a hymn to remember a strong bond between a mother and child, only to have the bond ripped away by racial violence. Through Randall’s dialog between the daughter and mother, the reader can sense the close bond as the daughter pleads:
“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?” (1-4)
The daughter wants to help her fellow African Americans whom are struggling for their rights and march along side them “To make our country free” (11). The mother wants to protect her child, like any mother would and responds:
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And the clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.” (5-8)
The mother fears for the safety of her child from all the violence and allows her to sing in the children’s choir at church instead (Randall 526). The bond between the mother and child grows stronger as the mother races to the church after hearing the explosion only to find a shoe (Randall 527). Even through death, the remembrance of the mother and child remains alive in the writing of “Ballad of Birmingham.”
Dudley Randall uses literary devices in his poem, “Ballad of Birmingham,” to create a memorable and emotional picture for the reader. Randall starts off by using dialog in the first four stanzas of the poem to allow the reader to become acquainted with the mother and daughter and sense the loving bond between them. The second and fourth lines of every stanza rhyme to allow the poem to flow more rhythmically as it tells the story of the bombing and eventual death of an innocent girl. Repeated words and lines are used frequently to portray an image in the mind of the reader such as, “No, baby, no, you may not go” (5, 13), which emphasizes the worry of the mother to allow her child to march. A few other words repeated often to show importance include; “march” (3, 4, 11), “guns” (7, 14), and “baby” (5, 13, 31, 32). Randall also uses descriptive dictation throughout the poem to allow the reader to create an image in...