Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Poetry Friday Kubla Khan

In honor of the conection of Xanadu to PJ Hoover's book The Emerald Tablet, I offer up Kubl Khan for POETRY FRIDAY. (I had the good fortune to read the ARC -- the novel is due out in October. )

On a total nonpoetic note, does anyone beside me remember the movie Xanadu? I think it starred Olivia Newton John. Just curious and I don't recommend it (in fact I may be the only person who ever saw it).


By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:

And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:

And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure

Floated midway on the waves;

Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

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

That with music loud and long

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honey-dew hath fed

And drunk the milk of Paradise.


Kelly said...

I saw Xanadu, Jim! I the theater, no less. 'Cause I was roller crazy :)

PJ Hoover said...

Jim, we're like long lost soul brother and sister. You are so speaking my language.
I memorized this shortly before writing The Emerald Tablet. And bonus points if you can guess which song triggered the Bangkok scene.

And yes - I remember Xanadu.
Now we are here, in Xanadu.
You can save Olivia for next Friday.

Jim D said...

Kelly: Hmmm... Roller Crazy

PJ: Drawing a blank for those bonus points, but I was up at 3:30 AM to go in to work early so everything cerebral is pretty blank at the moment.