Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt- La Belle Dame Sans Merci


I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.
John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, St. IV

Not the most cheerful ballad, (here’s a copy), but fascinating fodder for thought. I’ve always loved Waterhouse’s painting.

Writing Prompt: Instead of leaving our knight alone and palely loitering– our hero won’t let even death stop him, right?-write a scene where he challenges his presupposed fate. Does he confront his faery lover who enthralled him? Does he force/ enlist those pale kings and princes to his cause?

(Makes me think of Aragorn and the Paths of the Dead. 🙂 Oh yes, I think Aragorn & Viggo Mortensen will be excellent future post material.)

Painting: La Belle Dame Sans Merci
By John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Painted in 1893

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt- La Belle Dame Sans Merci”

  1. I love all Waterhouse’s work. And the rhythm of Keats’s poem is something writers should check out, especially the way he cuts us short on the last line. Very unnerving.

    Thanks for the prompt.

  2. Hi Jessa-

    You’re very welcome, and thank you for visiting. I’m having regular writing prompts every Wednesday.

    I agree about listening for rhythm and taking advantage of the nuance rhythm gives our work. Reading out loud brings out what the eye alone can miss. Attention to crafting the ends of sentences and paragraphs is just as important as refining their beginnings.

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