La Belle Dame avec Merci

I love you, said I

And tried in vain to read the lines on her face

Being desperately in need of a silent response.

Pointless as the attempt was

Myself went to the point and asked

–And how do you feel?

Pregnant as usual was Mrs. Surprise

She bore a child, legitimate,: pause

And then smiled her rosy lips

And then produced a gray response


Foreboding this seemed to me rather than promising

As I thought nothing but NO would be the following

–Is this your way to say NO?

On my face must have appeared a bold question mark

As she immediately produced the unexpected remark

–NO?- ThatI can’t say

Brighter turned the days, not as bright as she

Darker were the nights that were yet to be

In love was she

In love like me

But not with me

I was yet to see

In her was there a feeling strong for me

Pure it was, but it was sympathy only

–To me, why didn’t you tell this before?

–I could not, out of sheer empathy.

Expecting by her love to be crowned,

I had dropped and in mercy drowned.

Yet unable to pass away,

Gluts of mercy I drunk.

In time, however, even mercy shrunk

For more to her heart I leechlike clung.

I could see her smiling every night;

At me would she smile.

Smiling was she in the daylight,

Smiling at another.

I would go to sleep early

To get out of the lightmare[2]

And sleeping would she also be,

Sleeping with that other

Like an insect upon her back creeping myself I felt:

A slimy thing, and dirty, yet looked down on with pity.

Nor did I have the comfort that an insect had,

Of the creep that I was, I was aware fully.

At times however I was freed from shame;

Thanks to the whisky I was bereft of shame.

Then I would call her and sing a song of love:

My love for you darling is as great as a cow!

–Felt the horns growing out of your head?

Oh reader chaste, they were but the twins

That I had to bring up next

Like a poor but dutiful father.

Fortunately they were invisible to the mirror

Though this was disappointing to my horror.

–And felt the thorns piercing you through?

And felt the thorns piercing me through,

And the venom injected.

Yet, out came no drop of tear,

Of the shame more than I aware.

Stupidly enchanted as I was, I was still chanting,

(‘Appealing to her’ would be the letter that I was writing)

Ignoring a distant voice, telling me I had no choice

But to be as flies to wanton boys.

When I hark back, I hear the same voice, no longer distant

And say, love was a beautiful veil upon dirt willfully thrown.

Once more do I die the deaths she for her sport on me bestowed.

To her I was but as flies to boys wanton.

They say she was a lovely lady with an exceptional sense of pity

Methinks, she was, on the contrary, La Belle Dame sans Merci!

5 thoughts on “La Belle Dame avec Merci

  1. VM, I should tell you this too–personal. I got myself a literary agent. Doesn’t mean a book contract will follow, but…

  2. I’m gonna be like those crazy middle-aged women married to their job, with three cats named after their favorite literary characters..

  3. Self-preoccupation, in literary or philosophical matters, has always struck me as a lack of good manners.

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