February 14th, 2013

Oh Christ

Some Things More Wonderful than can be Admitted

I've been to school and the mall to-day, for lunch, and so far I've witnessed a remarkable shortage of the couples fighting or giving each other resentful cold shoulders I usually see on Valentine's Day. Seems like I saw a lot of single people, too. And lots of pretty girls, smiling and carrying around bunches of balloons or stuffed animals.

Meanwhile, I've mainly been thinking about how the hell Samuel Taylor Coleridge was as so enamoured with Wordsworth. Or at least his work. Every time, in a poem or in essay format, I read Coleridge heaping praise on Wordsworth, I found myself thinking, "You could do so much better!" And boy, did he. I read everything my book had of Coleridge yesterday, and unlike Wordsworth, Coleridge was an endless pleasure.

I'd read "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" before, but I don't think I appreciated it quite so much. Maybe it was the contrast with all the Wordsworth poems about normal places with normal things with a minimal amount of poetic devices like allusions and metaphors. It was nice to breathe the air of a south pole with a ghost ship, a capricious albatross curse, and angelic zombie crewmen. I love how he makes a point of saying they were good zombies.

'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Scratch that--good, singing zombies.

Oh, and the wonderful lesbian witch fantasy "Christabel"--probably Coleridge wouldn't like me describing it like that, but come on.

Beneath the lamp the lady bowed,
And slowly rolled her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shuddered, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her bosom and half her side --
A sight to dream of, not to tell!
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel!

Yet Geraldine nor speaks nor stirs;
Ah! what a stricken look was hers!
Deep from within she seems half-way
To lift some weight with sick assay,
And eyes the maid and seeks delay;
Then suddenly, as one defied
Collects herself in scorn and pride,
And lay down by the Maiden's side! --
And in her arms the maid she took,
Ah wel-a-day!

And after this I read Coleridge calling the homosexual love portrayed by Anacreon and Virgil as something to be reacted to with "disgust and aversion". Much as Blake said Milton was on the side of Hell whether Milton liked it or not, because he was a great poet--I might say something similar about Coleridge who also had a lot to say about Milton. In his Biographia Literaria, he discusses the Satanic Hero pioneered by Milton's work with apparently some disapproval, even as he lauds Milton's abilities in the rendering. He likens Satan to Napoleon which, I guess, is fair, at least in terms of Satan's independence, though I might point out that, although he was exiled for a while, Napoleon was never cast into a fiery pit and denied forever access to paradise.

It occurs to me that "Christabel", in apparently providing the inspiration for Le Fanu's Carmilla, was probably integral in creating the Satanic Heroine.

Twitter Sonnet #477

Jelly love nukes ennoble most sanctions.
Folded cardboard instructs children to tithe.
Snowflake press never ask the hail questions.
Microphone eyes are louder than some jive.
Cherry dragon bones are biting justice.
Cherubs playing blind man's buff slaughter mules.
Feather scales shame the shaggy basilisk.
Innsmouth Hoyle makes up fish rummy rules.
Shaving headdresses won't seduce the scalp.
Peppermint is the weapon of the egg.
Red fingernails need no knuckles for help.
Sugar coated bones build a milky leg.
Helium that pushed up the heart too red
Left no ticker tape in its blanket stead.