Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Yearly Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and I have a certain day in common, which happens to be this day. And so I have a yearly excuse to revisit some of those couplets that generations have embraced in to our living language:

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ?'
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone : and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,

His was a deeply literary and intellectual life that didn’t miss much, from agonizing unrequited love of Sara Hutchinson, fulfilling friendships with Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, living abroad in Italy and Germany, and an addiction to opium, which fueled some of his dream-like language. He reminds me that we all live in prose--sometimes harsh, sometimes boring--but we can dream and yearn-for in poetry to add dimension to daily life.

Coleridge wrote his epitaph in what would be the last year of his life.

'Stop, Christian Passer-by! - Stop, child of God,
And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod
A poet lies, or that which once seem'd he. -
O, lift one thought in prayer for S.T.C.;
That he who many a year with toil of breath
Found death in life, may here find life in death!
Mercy for praise - to be forgiven for fame
He ask'd for praise - to be forgiven for fame
He ask'd, and hoped, through Christ.
Do thou the same!'

Carrie Fisher also shares this day, and Postcards from the Edge works for me too.

Well isn't this a nice cosmic gift: "A junior version of the famous Perseid meteor shower is scheduled to reach its maximum before sunrise on Sunday morning, Oct. 21. This meteor display is known as the Orionids because the meteors seem to fan out from a region to the north of Orion's second brightest star, ruddy Betelgeuse."


Claire said...

Happy birthday!

M.A.Peel said...

thanks claire. It was a good day.

blue girl said...

Happy Belated birthday, Mrs. Peel! And many, many more.

Hope your ankle's feeling ok.

Mr. Peel said...

I'm sadly a day late, but Happy Birthday, Mrs. Peel! All the very best to you.

M.A.Peel said...

Blog posts have that frozen-in-time thing going for them: it is always my birthday in this space, because that date is the header for the post. And so BG and Mr. Peel, no one is late. Many thanks for the good wishes. Birthday wishes feel so new and shiny at the beginning of a personal new year.