When Ruth told me about Poem in your Pocket day, I knew I wanted to share the brother /sister duo Gabrielle Dante and Christina Rossetti, especially since my current focus is on visualization of words. My first pick was a combination of Christina’s “Goblin Market” with the illustration her brother provided for the cover.
Unfortunately, “Goblin Market” is sort of epic so printing it on a small handout didn’t seem like the best option. If you have some time, go read through her poem; it tells a great story of two sisters and is a fun read.
I still wanted to keep my focus on art tied to words so when I found a sketch with pen and sepia by Gabrielle of “La Belle Dame sans Merci”, I knew I’d found a winner. Below is Rossetti’s sketch followed by John Keat’s poem.
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.
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked 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 faery’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 sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
And there she lullèd me asleep,
And there I dreamed—Ah! woe betide!—
The latest dream I ever dreamt
On the cold hill side.
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—“La Belle Dame sans Merci
Thee hath in thrall!”
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gapèd 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 withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.