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Last Friday, the ladies at the Merry Sisters of Fate issued a call for submissions. That's right, it was a "Watcher's Prompt Contest". The task: Write a story based on the following picture, post it no later than Thursday, February 26th, and leave a link over there. Not one to pass up a challenge based on such a lovely picture (based on a lovely poem by Keats*), I wrote a little something that I'm called "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" (why yes, that was the title of a song in French by Sting).

La Belle Dame Sans Regrets
by Kelly R. Fineman

A knight went riding out one day
To slay a dragon on the hill.
Astride his roan, he made his way –
Near water's edge, his horse stood still.

No dragon could the good knight see—
Only a maiden fit to bed:
Her eyes were silver as the sea,
Her smiling lips were poppy red.

In dreamlike state, he reached for her.
He spoke fine words in accents clear.
She came to him without demur—
No word she said as she drew near.

She rode with him upon his steed,
Again she rode him in due course.
Full willingly he met her need—
At last she rose without remorse.

The dragon maiden, fierce and fair,
sat by the dead knight's earthen bed—
With calm, cool hands she fixed her hair,
Her eyes and lips both poppy red.

In case you were wondering about my sources, I based my poem in part on Keats*'s "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", in part on Yeats's "The Song of Wandering Aengus", in part on the legend of Melusine, which I mentioned during my interview with Bruce Coville in question #3, and in part on vampirism.

*Quoth Daniel Cleaver in the movie version of Bridget Jones's Diary: "F*ck me, I love Keats"

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( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)

And I thought of Sting's song, too!

And lookit--poppies all over the place. Niiiiice.

You go girl. Hope you win.
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
What's with the dead guy's funky shoes....
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
It's a form of riding armor - he would likely have been unable to walk in that.
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
Thanks, Christy! I love Sting's song. And this painting. And the poems I referenced. And Melusine. Not that I truly drew from Melusine, but still . . .
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, and that link to the song video was kinda *whistles* Bad girl.
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
Hmmm . . . I didn't watch it all the way through. That'll teach me. But I couldn't find concert footage (or other video) of Sting performing it, and it seemed harmless enough at the start.
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
May I post your poem tomorrow on my blog?
Feb. 26th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
You may!
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Very nicely done! (er...no pun intended) I loved this painting when Maggie first posted it, but I love it more having read your poem.
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
Now that's high praise indeed!
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
Chilling! Great allusions.
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)

Also? It's nice to see you around!
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
Great poem - I hope you win!
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I consider I've won already, since I have a new poem that I like out of the process.
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
That's a really cool way to look at it!
Feb. 26th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
Love it! Good luck with the contest!
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jama. I was really taken with the image, and decided to try my hand at a lyrical poem. Whether it does well in the contest or not, I'm pretty happy with having turned it out (and in such a short time!)
Feb. 26th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
And the winner is...
I hope it's you!

Nice poem.

The loser for sure was that sap knight who fell for that spider and fly ploy (could see that one coming!)

Feb. 26th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
Re: And the winner is...
In the Keats poem (and in "The Wandering Aengus", by Yeats), the man doesn't necessarily die - he is placed under an enchantment by the fairy girl in the poem and is forced to live out his days hoping to see her again, while bound to the place he met her and essentially wasting away. That said, one of the interpretations in Keats is that the man is a spirit tied to the land. In both of the other poems, the man essentially "catches" the woman (who may or may not be a willing victim), so I decided to flip it. The poem was so popular with Victorians (and into the early 1900s) that several different paintings were made depicting it - and this Cowper image from 1926 is one of them. (He did a different version of the woman in 1905, holding a lute.)
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
He did a different version of the woman in 1905, holding a lute.
Like a Praying Mantis, she's inspired to write a song after the love-making / decapitation....

Feb. 26th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
I didn't know Praying Mantis's wrote songs. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 27th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Re: And the winner is...
Thanks, Jenn. I'm pretty pleased with this piece, I must say. Thanks for your lovely comments!
Feb. 26th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)

"Again she rode him in due course." Awesome!

More, please.
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)

Thanks, Lisa. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
C'est magnifique!
Feb. 26th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
Merci beaucoup.
Feb. 26th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Outstanding. This was fun. Let's do it again. Not today, and not this one. You know what I mean.
Feb. 26th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
Indeed I do. We can set our own challenge or keep our eye on the Merry Sisters of Fate.
Feb. 27th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Tanita Says :)
Had to read that out loud to D. -- he said, "Wow. Winner. I think so."

Made of awesome.
Feb. 27th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: Tanita Says :)
That is so, so nice of the both of you!!
Feb. 27th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
La Belle
Your elegantly structured poem nailed the painting to the wall, but what are those clown faces doing on her dress?
Feb. 27th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Re: La Belle
I believe they are ginormous poppies, although I could be wrong. Thank you very much for your kind comments on my poem!
Feb. 27th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
thank you!
What a treat for this evening! Lovely!
Feb. 27th, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
Why, thank you for your lovely comments!
Feb. 27th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Damn, that's creepy, chilling-good. Really good.

Feb. 27th, 2009 11:47 am (UTC)
Thank you, Jules.
Feb. 28th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
You are naughty.
Your poem is great.
Feb. 28th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I am not naughty. I am nice. Mostly. And thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 3rd, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks Maggie!
Mar. 5th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Haha! This was super fun. I'm still giggling. Thanks for playing. Also, dirty! Bonus!
Mar. 5th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm quite enamored of my poem, I must say. It was a fun exercise.
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )

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