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Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Shallot Revisited"......

is a retelling of the tragic story of Elaine, who loved Sir Lancelot unto death, even though he spurned her for another. This variation is in first person from Elaine's perspective, and it plays with modern language and concepts, experimenting with the situation placed in a present-day setting. However, it does seem to slip back into the Middle Ages by the end!

Shallot Revisited

I once met a fine young man,
Handsome in his manners, honest in his speech,
With ideals that defied the world,
So broad in their scope, believing in the unseen,
Clinging to faith, and when that wavered, to hope,
And when that wavered, to love, supreme among virtues

(Could he not have shared that love with me instead of another?)

We spoke of golden times and tales,
Bright as illuminated script, revealing our souls,
And we saw ourselves as “knight” and “lady”,
Bound by a common purpose, and pure desire,
To bring out the best in one another
In a fast-fading summer of youthful fancies

(Could that summer not have lasted and grown through all seasons?)

We talked of lost treasures,
Sparkling beneath the sky, yet guarded by dragons,
Things worth living and dying to win;
Armed with the sword of passion and the shield of humility,
I knew he would fight for them and gain them
And I hoped his lance might bear my silk scarf of azure

(Did another scarf have to be tied atop that weapon?)

I hear his voice on the wind,
Simple in its delivery, yet enchanting in its melody,
And I feel a magic carried on the breeze
Because it brushed against his shoulder, as it brushed mine,
Connecting us though we are far apart,
And though he finds comfort in the company of another

(Could he not find as much comfort in my own presence?)

If I should die while he is away
Fighting for the honor of his own chosen lady,
Send him my heart in a casket of silver,
Tied by a satin hair ribbon, redder than blood;
Cast it in his path on the field where he will fight,
Like the blessing I gave him when my eyes were dimming

(Could I not have used my final breath to kiss him instead?)


"Could he not find as much comfort in my own presnece...?"


  1. Deliciously mediaeval, for which many thanks, for had it been modern, one would imagine a guy -- not a man -- in knee pants and a Leave-it-to-Beaver baseball cap drooling vacantly over his Ipad and not musing on the ideas and ideals of civilization.

  2. Awww! Pearl, did you write this? It is so touching! I love the way that the poem seems to retell one of my favorite stories from a modern perspective-so very original. And the picture at the end is lovely as well:) Do you have any idea as to the artist?

  3. Hi, Mack and Meredith!

    @Mack: Ha, ha! I love your description of the all-too-modern-guy! Of course, I have met a few exceptions to the general rule, but they are quite hard to come by!

    @Meredith: I'm so glad you liked the poem! Yes, it is a product of one of my creative splurges ;-) I was thinking of you when I wrote it, since I know how much you love the Lady of Shallot.

    As for the painting, I located it on google, and was really struck by how lovely it was. It was painted by a modern artist who illustrates fairy tales, I believe....I'll try to locate the name, and then send it to you!


  4. I believe this is the artist in question:

  5. Thanks very much, Byrnwiga! How did you know that right off the bat? Are you familiar with other things this artist has done?

    Okay, Meredith, what he says: apparently it's the work of Howard David Johnson! ;-)

  6. No problem :)

    I had actually seen the picture before and remembered the artist's last name. I was eventually able to track his website down.

  7. Wow, this is a lovely poem!
    I'm sorry, but I can't read it without starting to laugh...last year, for an assignment I wrote a poem in the meter of Spencer's Faerie Queene, that was a modern retelling of Elaine. It was a local hispanic gang setting, very ironic, and much different from your gentle retelling.