Chanson: Art Creating Art

One of the most beautiful paintings I’ve ever seen is The Meeting on the Turret Stairs
by Frederick William Burton (Irish, 1816-1900). According to the link I have below, the painting is in the National Gallery of Ireland. According to one source I wrote about this piece of Burton’s art, the painting is “an illustration of an episode from a Danish ballad, translated by Whitley Stokes and published in Fraser’s Magazine in January, 1855. It shows the final parting of Hellelil and her bodyguard, Hildebrand, the Prince of Engellend. Their tragic affair results in the slaying of seven of Hellelil’s brothers by Hildebrand, and his own death at the hand of the youngest.” I was so moved by the painting and the story that I wrote the poem I’m posting in this blog.
You can see the painting here:

For some more discussion on this painting , go to:

Here’s my poem that the painting inspired. I call it “Chanson.”


The story of the painting is sad,
A tale of a tragic love,
Born in conflict, recklessness and lust,
The kind that lasts forever,
The kind with no happy ending.

Six times he had battled brother-protectors,
Six times they had said goodbye,
Six times he had returned to her alive.
One brother is left.
This time, the brother will return.