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QOTD: Coleridge

May 4th, 2009

“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.”

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

from the Wikipedia page:

“Coleridge claimed that the poem was inspired by an opium-induced dream (implicit in the poem’s subtitle A Vision in a Dream) but that the composition was interrupted by a person from Porlock. Some have speculated that the vivid imagery of the poem stems from a waking hallucination, most likely opium-induced. Additionally a quotation from William Bartram[1] is believed to have been a source of the poem. There is widespread speculation on the poem’s meaning, some suggesting the author is merely portraying his vision while others insist on a theme or purpose. Others believe it is a poem stressing the beauty of creation, and some read sexual allusions throughout.

Inspiration for this poem also comes from Marco Polo’s description of Shangdu and Kublai Khan from his book Il Milione, which was included in Samuel Purchas’ Pilgrimage, Vol. XI, 231.”

I had a nightmare last night that my Grandma was in Purgatory. She was sitting in a chair, alone, dressed nicely, her make-up on. We talked for a second, but she was distracted. Wouldn’t make eye contact. It’s not what I imagined Purgatory to look like — it was more like a train station. Cold. Sterile. She seemed steady, but a little nervous. Ready to be on her way. I woke up scared and ice cold. This has been harder than I thought it would be. I’m doing what I always do when I lose someone — I’m pretending she’s still here.

The neighbor’s big tree came partially down this weekend — dropped a branch in their driveway, and another branch (and most of the tree’s canopy) in our side yard. It filled up our side yard, with all the foliage. Couldn’t get to front gate or through yard because of it.

We had the strangest storm — it came on fast and dark, tons of rain and hail. All of the pink blossoms from the cherry and plum trees, swirling around like snow. Then it got darker and trees and limbs started falling. Thank God the kids weren’t outside when it happened — we had just been outside a little earlier. Also thank God it didn’t crash through the windows, smash through the roof, do more damage to the fence than it did. (Only a few boards damaged.) I heard a huge riiiiiiiiiiip, creeeeeeeeak, and then crash. It was too scary. I think it was my grandma, raging.



  1. edj says

    Have you ever read CS Lewis’ description of purgatory, “The Great Divorce” He pictures it as this dreary town, getting on to twilight.
    I realize this is not the point of your post. I’m so sorry, Nancy. Hang in there!

    May 4th, 2009 | #

  2. The Other Laura says

    I second that – hang in there. I’m lighting a candle for you, your Grandma and the tree.

    May 4th, 2009 | #

  3. Nan says

    Douglas Adams has a book involving Coleridge going back in time to the birth of the planet, or something I can’t remember which one. It’s pretty hilarious. My boys love “The Ancient Mariner”, and want to learn it off by heart.

    Saying a prayer for Grandma, and for you. It will get better.

    May 5th, 2009 | #

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