A Touch of Coleridge in Chicago

rime coleridge

The Sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

On this chilly June day, fog hung over the city like a blanket suspended from the skyscrapers. Ominous was the first word that came to mind, but as I approached the harbor and noticed the tips of all the sailboats’ masts being swallowed up by the sky, scenes from my favorite Coleridge piece flashed across my mind. If you haven’t read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, you should. It’s the longest of all his works, but it is a powerfully written poem with beautiful use of imagery and personification, as well as moral admonition steered by the sea, some dark spirits, and an albatross.

If you decide to read it, let me know what you think in the comments section below!


Vibrant buildings assume a pastel hue
As when mixing paints; adding white to blue.

Silvery frosted crystals fall softly,
Forming a sheer veil over the city.

In summertime, a sapphire oasis;
Now bleak as God’s delicate hand traces

The urban edge of Poseidon’s estate;
Its alabaster sheen so desolate.

The beauty of the harbor lies barren–
No songs of the warbler, loon or heron.

A frigid white blanket across this bed
Encapsulates beauty asleep, not dead.