Writings and Witterings


A Beautiful Sadness

As you know, I adore everything pre-raphaelite, so you won’t be surprised to see me write around my favourite pre-raph painting The Lady of Shallot by John William Waterhouse (1888)—she is hauntingly beautiful and sad.  Written in response to Stuart McPherson’s marvellous prompt this weekend for Poetics at dVerse.

The Lady of Shalott ~ John William Waterhouse 1888

A Beautiful Sadness

Beware enchantment beware,
Lancelot has
charisma to share, has
women a’plenty.

Loved by a King,
who trusts him,
his victories,
his search for the grail.

Trust repaid by an
affair with
Guinevere, the King’s
most beloved wife.

The Lady spies him from her
isolated tower,
her faerie bower,
her place of power,

her room of one’s own.
turns, looks,
‘The mirror crack’d from side to side’
she cries,

never to have the prize.
She learns that sans mirror,
sans tapestry…
enchantment leaves.

She is bereft, returned
to mortality.
Her faerie bower,
her place of power,

her room of one’s own,
her isolation
brings about
her destruction.

There is tension.
the status, the role,
the conditions.
Contemporary culture—pah!

She’s a saviour of
the domestic realm.
No!  She is

She leaves her loom
for him.
The mirror cracks
for him.

She turns to look
for him.
She loses life
for him.

Dead before the
ultimate goal: Camelot.
A martyr to unworthy love.
Passionate, beautiful sadness.

Polly Stretton © 2012