The lady of Shalott – a pastiche

I’m not one for writing poetry. I read a lot of it and I’m rubbish. However, I found this when I was tidying up today. I wrote it back in 1994. It’s a pastiche of one of my favourite poems – about the ruination of the Lady of Shalott. It’s old-man-Victorian-melodrama about women looking at a man’s helmet and his feathers and then ‘blooming’ before dying. It’s a bit rubbish, so I re-wrote it. I don’t believe ruination comes to a dame just because she looks at a man’s helmet.

Anyway, here it is:

The Lady of Shalott – a pastiche

On either side the by-pass lie

Old tenements of time gone by

That stink to hell and hurt the eye

And leave the residents asking why

This place is festering, left to rot.

And up and down the people go

Gazing where the cold winds blow

Round a derelict there below

The derelict of Shalott.


And moving on a flatscreen clear

That blazes before her all the year

Shadows of the world appear

There she sees the by-pass near

The lady of Shalott

And on the pavement there unfurls

A handsome boy with golden curls

He catches the eye of all the girls,

Smooth Dean Lancelot.


But in the screen she still delights

To immortalise its magic sights

With ink upon her paper, white,

She tells of all the violent nights

To the people who forgot.

That night she sees a crackhead, dead,

And two drunk lovers off their heads

“I’m half sorry for the shadows” said

The lady of Shalott


And on the screen a flash goes by

All around boys look and sigh

They stand about and wonder why

They’re not driving that GTI

Of smooth Dean Lancelot.

A dealer he, he roams the streets

Followed by guys who’d kiss his feet,

“Another year, they’re just dead meat.”

Writes the Lady of Shalott


Often through the purple night

He’ll prowl around til morning light

Getting young kids high as kites

Who have no sense of wrong or right

Snorting coke and smoking pot.

Although he holds a mobile phone,

It’s rarely used, he’s all alone

He rings and gets the engaged tone

Of the Lady of Shalott


For she knows better, she is wise

She understands his reddened eyes

And she sees thru’ his shallow lies

The mobile phone and the GTI

Of wicked Dean Lancelot

She leaves the screen and fits the latch

She knows Lancelot is no catch

“In me, he’s finally met his match”

Said the Lady of Shalott.


It’s funny because I guess I wrote it about someone but I can’t remember who, and I don’t know if it was someone specific. I like that I called him Dean. Deans are often rogues. Sorry to all my friends called Dean (well, one of them) who is not a rogue and is lovely. I like how she fits the latch too and just goes back to observing the world, and he’s left all alone. I was a cool 20-something!

I also found some quite profound haiku. I might put those up too, another time.

Good night, dear readers. Enjoy the best of the new year. Enjoy the coming days and the shorter nights. Enjoy each other and keep warm with ones who love you.


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