Are you stumbling about the spheres of the literary world, scouring all of its lands for inspiration? If so, fear not, because every week, I plan on sharing a poem with you that I feel will easily ring in your thoughts and lay a seed of motivation in your mind.
This week’s poem is the ballad “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is a poem based on the Arthurian era and written about a maiden locked away in a tower due to a terrible curse. Through the mirror in her room, she sadly overlooks the ever-flowing fields, the occasional farmers, and the glittering city of Camelot. The Lady is surrounded by life on a daily basis yet has never been able to join in on the vitality around her. However, when a handsome knight rides from that lively city of Camelot one day, The Lady’s curse seems to swell, thereby threatening the thin line between life and death.
I first read “The Lady of Shalott” in the seventh grade, when my language arts teacher wrote a lesson to show us the connections between modern media and older literature. She had us recall the famous, contemporary country song “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry, telling us that it was inspired and clearly written about Mr. Tennyson’s poem; in fact, the poem itself is displayed in the music video, which today boasts more than one hundred twenty three million views on YouTube.
Before actually having us read the poem, my teacher let us hear a vocal rendition of the piece by Loreena McKennitt (a beautiful voice indeed; you can listen to her version here). With the song being more than eleven minutes long, it is clear that the poem is quite lengthy. However, although “The Lady of Shalott” contains many parts and several stanzas, I was always enraptured by its rhyme, rhythm, and medieval ambiance. The poem’s imagery is phenomenal and describes the nature surrounding The Lady beautifully, and also effortlessly describes the tragedy of her death.
“The Lady of Shalott” is a poem that pulls at the heartstrings and pulses with a consistent rhyme scheme. If you haven’t read the poem already, feel free to click the link located at the beginning of this post and experience it for yourself. Leave a comment on your thoughts; I’d love to hear what you think of the poem, as well as anything else you might conjure up!