Not Thou

It is an ancient grandmother,
And she tells this tale to three.
With long grey hair and squinting eye,
She sits on the stump of a tree.

The three of us sat down, as well,
And listened while she told
Of a ship and a man and an albatross
And a storm and a country of cold.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
I tried to commit it to memory,
It’s a tale of sea and no wind,
Though I failed and was far from exemplary.

In the long, long tale of the ship at sea,
The old woman spoke of the wedding guest,
And the storm and the mist and the snow,
And the bird that came to a meaningless death.

Learning this poem I could never write
Somehow soothed my soul.
I read it now and can’t understand
The attraction of something so drole.

But the woman continues
And we listen well
To how the mariner killed the albatross
and how he experienced hell.

What a task to answer this call,
It took me forever to these words write.
I cannot imagine how long Samuel Coleridge
Dealt with this plight.

And why did this particular poem
Fascinate my mind
With its fiends, and death-fires and slimy things
Maybe ’twas the end message to mankind.

“He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small…”

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