Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

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.
-- Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge --
"And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced"
That makes you wonder, right?
After an intense Laudanum (opium) trip Coleridge’s Freudian symbolic words became some sort of mystical erotic paint.
And the Abyssinian muse strumming her dulcimer finishes it to the three pillars of our life's pleasure dome:
Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll!


Granny said...

It's still better than an albatross around the neck.

Lindsay Lobe said...

It's a shame it took a dependency on an opium addiction to enable this poetic work.

DA said...

Very true Ann, let creativity flow..

I believe some poets, artists and musicians have created their masterpieces on drugs or in their worst depression Lindsay. Just remember Jim Morrison, Van Gogh, Lord Byron, Edgar Allan Poe, John Lennon and so on.

Lindsay Lobe said...

What you believe is true, what we don’t know is could all of theses artists have risen to greater heights to be far better or to be worse without that dependency.

For the modern day artist I believe it can be an excuser, to pander to a desire, a crutch to justify dependency. For those of the older era, when the damage from drugs was not understood, maybe not as pronounced.

As for depression that’s a state not cherished or sort out, but arises often in parallel with greater cognitive creativity, in that part of the brain primarily responsible for its output. The link between mental illness and creativity is strikingly apparent as you mention in the genius of van Gogh.
Peak creativity and productivity are often interwoven with nadirs of despair and mental paralysis as was the case in the lives of Byron, Tenyson and Schumann, as all suffered bipolar manic depression. But that's separate and distinct from a drug induced state.
best wishes

DA said...

Well said Lindsay,

It also could well be the absence or presence of the same chemical substance in our brain -either in great depression or after too many whiskies - that enables us to contact the higher energy (or lower for that part). The chemicals that brake through barriers of self perhaps..

Granny said...

I was referring to his other masterpiece. The one I was forced to memorize in school.

I like this one much better.

Ingrid said...

Ah, the albatross around the neck..had to read that for English lit (in Holland). Thank God we never had to do Shakespear because our teacher felt that was too difficult for us to grasp. That said, never mind the actual content or how the content was gotten, I always wonder how certain literature or poetry would sound in the original language. I remember reading Dostoyevsky's 'The idiot' years ago wondering, if it is this incredible in English, how much more would it be in Russian. Oh and Lindsay, wasn't Mozart a wee cookoo as well?

Gary said...

DA - do have any laudanum left? I could use a little to truly appreciate this poem and my friend Dimitri. I'll trade you Canadian maple syrup!