Natalie of Bath Beach, Brooklyn, 1953

la belle dame sans merci

Natalie gave herself to every boy but me

Natalie, Natalie, la belle dame sans merci

I turned the age thirteen, in nineteen fifty-three

The rage, torrent of blood in my veins

Raging my arteries

Natalie, Natalie gave herself to every boy but me

Natalie, la belle dame sans merci

Gentle waves lapped the rocks of Gravesend Bay alee

Gulls swept up the wind and turned, drifted toward the sea

Natalie gave herself to every boy,

Every boy but me

La belle dame, la belle dame sans merci

Yes, there was a date, a date etched in memory

The Loews Oriental, I took her hand From Here to Eternity

I touched her shoulder in the dark,

Touched her neck she turned away from me,

The waves lapped up the misty shore, drifted toward the sea,

She placed her hand, her ivory hand on someone else’s knee,

Stalked my dreams, branded my dreams From Here to Eternity

Deborah Kerr wrapped her thighs, clung to the man, drifted out to sea

Natalie gave herself to every boy

Every boy but me

La belle dame, la belle dame sans merci

I walk along the shore now

Cuffs roll my ankle, roll up to my knee,

Lashed to the mast as Sirens call

Call from the misty sea,

Helen of Troy, Magdalene

The gray mist of the sea

The dreams of youth, the lies, the truth

Drift away from me

O Natalie still gives herself

To every boy but me


  • Bernard Block was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and attended Cornell University and Brooklyn College. He hitch-hiked to California in 1965 and lived in the Haight-Ashbury through 1967 where he gave poetry readings at the I and Thou Coffee Shop, North Beach coffee houses and Golden Gate Park. He returned to NYC and studied with the poet Colette Inez in the mid '70's. He earned his living as a caseworker with the Bureau of Child Welfare in New York City (he is now retired). Bernard has read at all the major spoken-word venues in NYC. He has presented his poetry in venues in Philadelphia, Columbia, SC and Asheville, NC. In August, 2014 he was invited to feature in Laugharne, South Wales in celebration of the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. Bernard curates and hosts the Series “From Whitman to Ginsberg” at Cornelia St. Café. There have been 21 editions of this Series; the most recent was presented on September 28, 2018. All 21 editions were videotaped and can be accessed on his YouTube Channel. He has had 38 poems published in the prestigious European on-line literary journal Levure Littéraire #8, #9 and #12 (Editors: Rodica Draghincescu; Erika Dagnino). Five of Bernard's poems appear in the French/English literary journal Recours au Poème (Editor: Marilyne Bertoncini) with French translation by Elizabeth Brunazzi. In an article in this journal regarding the NYC poetry scene, Ms. Brunazzi devotes a significant discussion to Bernard's poetry and his organizing role on that scene. Bernard Block’s book of poetry "Am I My Brother’s Keeper?" has been released by Dark Light Publishing. This is a bilingual edition, English/Spanish, with evocative translations by the eminent Mexican poet, Roberto Mendoza Ayala. It is available on Amazon and from the author: [email protected]