La Belle Dame Sans Merci

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry’d–“La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!”

That was my first taste of John Keats. In 6th grade, I took part in a poetry recitation contest and this was what our team chose to recite. It was about a knight who had lost his ‘fair maiden’. I was too young to know about poetic license or iambic pentameter, but I thoroughly enjoyed reciting it. I fell in love with poems. Keats, Blake (Tiger Tiger burning bright), Wordsworth (who can forget Daffodils), Ogden Nash (my favourite – This is going to hurt just a little bit – I hate going to the dentist too!), Coleridge (Rime of the Ancient Mariner – ‘water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink’ fame)..I read them all! Only one regret though – I couldn’t memorize every line I ever read – tough, I know..sob sob.

It’s just amazing how some people (poets) can see normal things and make it poetry. I’ve tried my hand at it – the less said about it the better folks! Disaster is an understatement. You have to be Keats to write about an urn – honestly, when I see an urn, I just see something that can hold water! I know I know I’m terrible!!!!! It’s hopeless I tell you. Poets are born, not made – atleast that’s what I tell myself to feel better about my failure.

Believe it or not, I also tried doing limericks. Here goes my first one ever, I wrote it when I was in my 10th grade – (no comments on this please, I know what you’re going to say, so save it!)

After their dreamy marriage
They set off in a carriage
To the moon
For a honeymoon
But returned due to alien barrage.

There. Laugh. It’s ok, I can completely understand. But you know what? I atleast had the guts to put it on my blog. So I’m not that bad after all.

I’ll end this with my favorite lines (don’t worry, not mine. ) –

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

By the way, the knight does not find his fair maiden till the end – she was afterall ‘La belle dame sans merci’.


2 thoughts on “La Belle Dame Sans Merci

  1. thanks for reminding La Belle Dam Sans Merci… it’s my IPE poem..
    and feelin bad to say that Ramesh Sir, my IPE english faculty had died
    in a blast at crackers shop near to ma Home town on one Worse Diwali…
    And 100s of people died on that situation..


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