The Lady of Shallot by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Tonight’s short story is not a short story at all; it’s a poem. Mind you, it’s a poem that reads like a story, which is why I love it so much. I am — dare I say it? — not a big fan of poetry. I am a simple soul; I like it when things make sense, and most of the poetry I’ve read just doesn’t make much sense to me. It could be that it’s way over my head.
But I love this poem. It’s beautiful. It’s mysterious. It rhymes in a lovely way and the words rise and fall and float and soar. It’s a magic poem, and it’s one of my favorites.
This poem is also a favorite of Anne Shirley, my childhood idol. I grew up watching the 1985 movie adaption of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Megan Follows plays Anne in that version, and her narration of the Lady of Shallot has stuck with me over the years, so much so that while reading the poem for the podcast, I may have tried to channel Anne Shirley (in truth, I’ve been trying to channel her all my life).
That being said, the poem I’m reading is a little different from the one Anne reads aloud in the movie. I, not knowing there were two versions of the poem, sat down and read the first one I found: the 1833 version. I later learned that Tennyson wrote another version of the poem in 1842, which is the one that Anne reads. If you were wanting to hear the 1842 version, don’t fret. I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting the Lady of Shallot.