Monday, September 28, 2009

Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ in Water

The two lovers, Fanny Brawne and John Keats, one of his letters to her, and her engagement ring.

I am a female. I wonder if it then follows that I love love stories (or in the words of Ginny Branch Stelling, "I Love Love.") or if it's just because I am a sap. Throw a couple of love letters into the said love story (extra credit if there is poetry) and I am hooked!

Screen shot 2009-09-30 at 9.38.11 AM

In all fairness, I discovered the wonders of John Keats, young English poet, in high school. I still quote his "Beauty is truth, truth beauty, --that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." from Ode on a Grecian Urn to myself and friends. I memorized his poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci in part because I loved the sentiment (and haplessly identified with the titular character) but also because I loved these works of art (by artists who had also been inspired by Keats):

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by John William Waterhouse and Frank Dicksee

Poor Keats. His poetry was a critical failure in his own time, his lady love seemed to be something of a minx (is she the original La Belle Dame Sans Merci?), and he was dead by the age of 25 from tuberculosis. He also lost both of his parents early in life, and his brother to the same disease.

But this is the stuff of cinema. Director Jane Campion (The Piano) brings the story and the romance to life in this month's Bright Star. It looks good. It probably won't come to Dubai for some time, but if you get to see it, let me know what you think.

And, while you're at it, be sure to check out his love letters. They're intoxicating!


The above postcard is a selected portion from one of the poet's letters to Fanny. The handwriting is my own, a font created by the lovely Frederique at The French Frog. Some of the scrapbooking elements above come from Raspberry Road Designs.



Jay said...

"The more I have known you, the more have I loved". Wow, just wow. It reminds me a bit of Pablo Neruda, who for a fat, dead Chilean who looked a bit like Droopy is more or less the marker against which I compare all other poetry.

Leif said...

He is a silver-tongued devil, isn't he?

I think I like "Ode to a Nightingale" the best of all his works.

I always get frightened of reading books of letters. They're usually some giant 800-page beast. And those are the "Selected Letters of..." One wonders what all their letters would look like.

I'm a fan of the poetry, too. Some of my favorite love poems:
Bouquet of Belle Scavoir
For the Courtesan Ch'ing Lin
I More Than Envy Him
Poem to Be Read and Sung
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

elventryst said...

Thanks for the poetry recommendation, Leif... I liked the Sappho one, the one by Sandburg and the Cummings one (which I was already familiar with and love)