02 September 2013

Sapphire Even Day Blog Challenge Day 1: What's in a (Blog) Name?



If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
 ~Audre Lorde

In September, I’m participating in the Sapphire Even Day Blogging Challenge  and the Two Pages-A-Day Writing Challenge. 



W
elcome readers, both new and loyal!  If you are just joining us via the Sapphire or Two Pages Challenges, then a double welcome! 

What’s in a name?
Kimberly’s writing prompt for today was to introduce ourselves and our blog.  For the what, check out my intro post from June to find out what it’s all about Alfie here at La Belle.  For the who, check out my About Me blurb.  As for the blog name, well, you’re the first person to ask!

John Keats – The Words
If you’ve tooled around the blog for any length of time, one thing should hopefully become obvious: I am bewitched by beauty.  Sometimes it is in the form of food (especially dinner parties); sometimes it takes the form of music (I sing and play piano); sometimes it is visual (paintings, sculpture); but most often is takes the form of words.  I am a writer after all, and the beautiful play of words on a page thrills me like nothing else can.

If I’m really lucky, both word and art are married perfectly.  That is where the name of my blog comes in.

There is a poem by John Keats, entitled La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which means, The Beautiful Lady without Mercy:

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 look’d 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 sigh’d fill sore,                  
And there I shut her wild wild eyes        
  With kisses four.  

And there she lulled me asleep,  
  And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide! 
The latest dream I ever dream’d         
  On the cold hill’s side.     

I saw pale kings and princes too, 
  Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;          
They cried—“La Belle Dame sans Merci
  Hath thee in thrall!”

For the entire poem, visit this page.


Image Credit: ArtMagick

The PRB – The Art
I’m not the only one who loved Keats’ poem.  An incredible group of young men who were painters, sculptors, and poets loved it too.  I’ve written about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood before and even had the privilege of attending an exhibit of some of their original works at the National Gallery.  Two words: brilliant and swoon-worthy.  That is all.

The painting that is my avatar is my favorite of all PRB paintings.  Sir Frank Dicksee was born (1853) after the PRB was founded (1848).  But his work was influenced by the PRB, with rich, saturated colours, and medieval, romantic themes.

The Name
If you notice, however, the name of my blog is off by one word: sans  ~ without ~ is missing and in its place is de  ~ of/with.  La Belle ~ the Beautiful ~ is important here.  But Merci ~ Mercy ~ is essential.  Without mercy, love becomes conditional, faith becomes blind, hope is lost, and beauty becomes tarnished.  And that is not what I am about.

No one is perfect (how boring would that be!?), but I strive to have a heart that is unconditional, a faith that is open, a hope that serves, and a beauty that welcomes. Hence, The Beautiful Lady of/with Mercy.

As for La Belle’s motto, the Latin translates as: “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.”  It doesn’t get more romantic and unconditional than that!

So, again, welcome  ~ I do hope you will sit and stay awhile.  The teapot is always on, the bookshelves are always overflowing, and the conversation is always entertaining.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

I cannot wait to meet new writerly friends!  Please introduce yourselves and your blogs!

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