La Belle dame sans Merci

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ton321
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La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by ton321 » Sat May 16, 2020 2:32 am

Revision


So what's a matter, down-trod man,
scruffy, with your suit all torn?
living in the underpass-
You look so worn.

So what's a matter down-trod man,
The nights are getting very cold
You're in the knackers yard of life
and prematurely old

Pale and peakys what you are
you look like you haven't slept in days
do i toss the kindness coin
and meet your gaze?

I met her on Tinder date,
a stunner, with cupid lips,
with cheekbones high as Everest,
and hooded eyelids.


I held her hand during the film-
junkie hands, sweaty and white,
her eyes, dilated, stared at me,
and fixed me in her sight.


I slipped into her brand new car
with leather seats and all the trim;
and listened to her lifes story
behind the radios din.

There's a layby that i know,
she said, and we pulled over there,
and made uncomfortable love
over and over.

She gave me something in a drink
or kissed a pill into my lips;
that was the last thing i knew-
her cold, cold fingertips.

This junkie bitch has got you too
when I awoke and looked around,
just a windswept underpass,
and some others groaned,

and this i why i bide my time,
scruffy, with my suit all torn
living in the underpass-
and look so worn.



original


So what's a matter, handsome man,
scruffy, with your suit all torn?
Slumped inside a doorway,
and look so worn.

So what's a matter handsome man,
The nights are getting very cold.
You're in the knackers-yard of life
and prematurerly old.

Pale and peakys what you are-
you look like you haven't slept in days;
your face is thin, your eyes are tired
and can't keep my gaze.


I met her on Tinder date,
a brown haired-beauty with cupid-lips,
cheekbones high as Everest,
and polished fingertips.

I held her hand througout the film
clammy hands that just weren't right-
her eyes, wide-open, stared at me,
and fixed me in her sight.

She whispered things throughout the film,
words that I won't repeat,
not the sort of thing thats good
on a first date.

She told me all about herself
her childhood and all about her dreams;
her speaking wove a gauze of sound
of strange listening.

She took me to the place she lived,
all quiet, broken down,
as if everyone had departed-
the wrong side of town.

She fed me fruit, I drank her wine,
we danced barefoot and drank till three;
she put her fingers to my lips
and smiled at me.

When i awoke, I rubbed my eyes
not believing what i saw,
men like me, somehow trapped
for evermore

grimacing, or caught in speech,
in words that would not come,
as if a dream or nightmare
had struck them dumb.

That is why I loiter here
scruffy, with my suit all torn,
slumped inside a doorway,
and look so worn.
Last edited by ton321 on Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

NotQuiteSure
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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat May 16, 2020 11:15 am

.

Hi Tony,
not keen on the title (why isn't it updated along with the rest of the language.)
For me, the lack of characterisation is a weakness and the ending (s10-12)
suffers as a consequence.
Not inclined to invest emotionally in the 'handsome man'.
There doesn't seem to be enough of you in the piece.


S1-S3
- is 'handsome man' sufficient characterisation?
Maybe a bit more in the vein of 'knackers-yard'
and 'peaky' in the opening?

Pale and peaky's what you are-
- apostrophe for peaky's
you look like you haven't slept in days;
- ...like you've not slept ...?
your face is thin, your eyes are tired
and can't keep my gaze.
- surely 'meet/hold my gaze' ?

I met her on Tinder date,
a brown haired-beauty with cupid-lips,
cheekbones high as Everest,
and polished fingertips.
- it's a cliche description and superficial,
but maybe that's in keeping with Tinder.
Why not invent a tinder profile for her
and use that for the description?


I held her hand througout the film
clammy hands that just weren't right-
- maybe 'palms' for 'hands'?
(And perhaps have her holding N's hand?)
her eyes, wide-open, stared at me,
and fixed me in her sight.
- isn't l.4 a repeat of l.3?

She told me all about herself
- given what happens later, this seems unlikely
(was N being lied to?)

her childhood and all about her dreams;
her speaking wove a gauze of sound
of strange listening.
- really like 'strange listening' but not sure
the two lines work ... yet. Need tweaking.

She whispered things throughout the film,
words that I won't repeat,
- anything better than 'words'?
not the sort of thing thats good
on a first date.
- to hear on a first date ?
What's the difference between this verse
and the previous one? And if they're
'not good' why does N go back to her
place?


She took me to the place she lived,
all quiet, broken down,
as if everyone had departed -
the wrong side of town.
- 'wrong side of town' bit too clichéd/anticlimactic

She fed me fruit, I drank her wine,
- be nice to have specifics (interesting ones)
rather than generic 'fruit' and 'wine'.
we danced barefoot and drank till three;
- 'drank' twice?
she put her fingers to my lips
and smiled at me.


Regards, Not


.
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Tue May 19, 2020 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

David
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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by David » Sat May 16, 2020 5:10 pm

So, Ton ... a variation on Keats' famous poem, and not a bad one, although some of the rhyming could be spruced up in places, and the line lengths really need to conform throughout. I'd like to read it again once you've attended to those points. I like the attempted modernisation.

Cheers

David

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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by ton321 » Wed May 20, 2020 11:12 pm

Not, thanks for the detailed comb-through. Did you know it was a Keats cover when you came to it? Just wondered, because of your crit. of the title,
but thanks for the suggestions anyway. David, there are a few niggles with off rhyme and line length, I agree. I don't know why, but I've been wanting to do a more modern version of this poem for ages,
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

Charles
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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by Charles » Thu May 21, 2020 7:08 am

Hi Ton,

Really liked this piece, loved the riff on Keats and it actually kinda spoke to me being a singleton who tries to find love through dating app. :lol:

I dunno about the cliches, forgive me if it's not best practise to critique the critiquer, but it seems to be a dogma among some that cliches are always bad, but I don't think that's necessarily the case... they can add a familiarity that can be helpful. In this instance there's a childish, trance-like quality in them that lends itself to the piece overall.

However, I really think it would be much better if you did tidy up the rhyme in S6-7, kinda jarring and takes me out of the that "trace" feel.

Really enjoyed. Put me a bit in mind of Brian Pattern this one, which is a compliment I really enjoy his poetry.

ton321
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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by ton321 » Sun May 31, 2020 12:23 am

Hi Charles, Thanks for the comments/suggestions, glad you liked some of it. Hope it wasn't too relevant to your experiences on the dating scene :(
I suppose there could be humour brought into it, but now I've re-read it so many times, I don't think it is possible for it to work on that level.
Will work on it some more
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

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JJWilliamson
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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:54 am

Hi Tony

I very much enjoyed this tribute to John Keats and the modern take on love, life and death.
I was also reminded of several paintings, particularly one by John William Waterhouse. That put me in mind
of John J Williamson. :) Just kidding.

You have some metrical anomalies that could be remedied by following Keats' tetrameter.

I'm in full agreement over the "handsome man" issue, mainly because It lacks the punch of the original, but it does have enormous potential.
ton321 wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 2:32 am
So what's a matter, handsome man,
scruffy, with your suit all torn?
Slumped inside a doorway,
and look so worn.

So what's a matter handsome man,
The nights are getting very cold.
You're in the knackers-yard of life
and prematurerly old. ...Typo on 'prematurely'.

Pale and peakys what you are- ...Apostrophe on 'peaky's' perhaps.
you look like you haven't slept in days; ..."as if you hadn't slept in days" might smooth the meter.
your face is thin, your eyes are tired
and can't keep my gaze.


I met her on Tinder date,
a brown haired-beauty with cupid-lips, ...Some like anapests, others find them awkward. I don't mind, as it happens. Use them myself. :)
cheekbones high as Everest,
and polished fingertips.

I held her hand througout the film ...Typo on 'throughout'.
clammy hands that just weren't right- ...'Just' reads like filler.
her eyes, wide-open, stared at me,
and fixed me in her sight.

She whispered things throughout the film,
words that I won't repeat, ...You've slipped into trimeter.
not the sort of thing thats good ...Apostrophe on 'that's'
on a first date.

She told me all about herself
her childhood and all about her dreams; ...Repetition on 'about' jars, with your version. Give the dreams some mystery, perhaps.
EG only. "Her childhood and her sinful dreams".

her speaking wove a gauze of sound
of strange listening.

She took me to the place she lived,
all quiet, broken down,
as if everyone had departed-
the wrong side of town. ...Metrically speaking, after L1, this departs from the iambic tetrameter. L3 has me stumped.

She fed me fruit, I drank her wine,
we danced barefoot and drank till three;
she put her fingers to my lips
and smiled at me. ...Perfect meter throughout.

When i awoke, I rubbed my eyes ...Typo on 'i'.
not believing what i saw, ...ditto. Just for the sake of consistency.
men like me, somehow trapped
for evermore

grimacing, or caught in speech,
in words that would not come,
as if a dream or nightmare
had struck them dumb. ...To expand. L1 is tetrameter, if I apply a headless iamb in the first foot. L2 is trimeter, L3 is trimeter. L4 is fine. BUT! It all depends on your original intent.

That is why I loiter here
scruffy, with my suit all torn,
slumped inside a doorway,
and look so worn. ...L3 is trimeter. Easy to fix if you feel the need. :D
My quibbles are minor and I must say that I really did enjoy this clever take on a Keats masterpiece.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

ton321
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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by ton321 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:56 am

Hi JJ
Thanks for the metrical crit, I appreciate it actually. There doesn't seem to be much of it anymore on this forum.
I've changed a lot of the original, but I can see where you're going with it. Much appreciated,
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

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Re: La Belle dame sans Merci

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:29 pm

.
Hi Tony,
this has really come on a pace, especially toward the end (S8-10), but I don't think 'down-trod man' is an improvement.
There's a bit too much telling and repetition in s2 and s3 ('knacker's yard' then 'pale and peaky' seem to say the same thing).

I think your belle dame needs a bit more fleshing out. The description is still a bit 'superficial' (for want of a term). And 'junkie bitch' jars, for me. Where are the pale kings?

'over and over' in an 'uncomfortable car'? That raised a smile. And 'kissed a pill' is an excellent line.
Not to mention 'kindness coin'. Good stuff.


Regards, Not


.

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