John William Waterhouse 1893

When he named her, with some (poetic) bitterness, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, 43 years ago, he was in his Pre Raphelite phase. Ha! He’d met her sometime in 1969 during the last days of his first short lived marriage. AfterJack and Jill; before travelling 3 years in Asia and Europe. LBDSM was doing her petulant highly desirable unobtainable Princess role. He has only one photograph of her and  he’s not allowed to show it to anyone. Now – he has less hair/teeth and vital juices and she’s back in his life. Still highly desirable. And alas … still unobtainable. Certainly in any way that makes sense to an ex cavalier, now highly moral recovering romantic.

With Marijke Ward nee Veldkamp 1969

She’s still Her of Keats’ ballad to him. 62 years old; a Maiden still? – Not yet the Hag.  And she’s still (virtually)sucking the life out of him – or is it that he’s still able and willing to throw himself at her without counting the cost, to either of them, on the implication of the infinite, absolute Her, the One she seems to have always been to him.  And he’s loving it.

Never mind. This time around it gets to run in slow motion – but still a replay of 69? She can pause or fast forward it, whenever she wants. He can watch. And so far it’s still beautiful. Excruciatingly beautiful. 

The you~know~it’s~doing~you~good~because~it~hurts sort of beautiful? Nil irony? Non cynical? So romantic!

Who’d have believed it ~ their script from 1969 is his new script at 69.

Ha! Love that symétrie incertain


This is the way to do it~take it verse by verse to work through it.

Be patient with ye old English.

Being older,  he’s here to interpret the 19th century nuances.

She can Google if she’d prefer,

perhaps while next buying the ‘Chinee’ takeaway .

in Rosebud. (see VII)


La Belle Dame Sans Merci ~ John Keats 1795~1821


O what can ail thee, knight at arms,

     Alone and palely loitering?

The sedge has wither’d from the lake,

     And no birds sing.


O What can ail thee, knight at arms,

     So haggard and so woe-begone?

The squirrel’s granary is full,

     And the harvest’s done.


I see a lily on thy brow

     With anguish moist and fever dew,

And on thy cheeks a fading rose

     Fast withereth too.


I met a lady in the meads,

     Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

     And her eyes were wild.


I made a garland for her head,

    And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;

She look’d at me as she did love,

     And made sweet moan.


I set her on my pacing steed,

     And nothing else saw all day long,

For sidelong would she bend, and sing

    A fairy’s song.


She found me roots of relish sweet,

     And honey wild, and manna dew,

And sure in language strange she said—

     I love thee true.


She took me to her elfin grot,

     And there she wept, and sigh’d full sore,

And there I shut her wild wild eyes

     With kisses four.


And there she lulled me asleep,

    And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!

The latest dream I ever dream’d

     On the cold hill’s side.


I saw pale kings, and princes too,

     Pale warriors, death pale were they all;

They cried—”La belle dame sans merci

     Hath thee in thrall!”


I saw their starv’d lips in the gloam

     With horrid warning gaped wide,

And I awoke and found me here

     On the cold hill’s side.


And this is why I sojourn here,

     Alone and palely loitering,

Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,

     And no birds sing.


Suck it up knight baby – there’s always… plus de poisons dans le mer.

Should not the soppy knight take a good look at the narrator, who has been talking about him really quite nicely; her/him who he’s whining his sad story to? And make them a proposition they find attractive enough, go on to have rollicking no obligation sex and living more or less happily ever after. No bullshit. No kids. They’re old enough and are obviously interested in each other. Sad and pathetic 69 meets voyeur 62?

He’s started the drawings. Her (with mobile) is the first. (IV)

The bracelet is in hand . Your nightmare incarnate? He can’t wait to get to the ‘fragrant zone’! Those poor bastards in X and XI ~ I’ll have to guess who they were/are  they are probably all dead or dying.

Meanwhile 40 years later…


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