Sunday, May 3, 2009

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Why look'st thou so?" "With my cross-bow
I shot the albatross...
And the good south wind still blew behind
But no sweet bird did follow, 
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners' hollo!
And I had done a hellish thing, 
And it would work 'em woe;
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow. 
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay, 
That made the breeze to blow!"

Apparently there was a ship returning from Antarctica in 1959 with an Albatross on board. The ship housed it caged to deliver the bird to a German zoo. 
The Albatross died shortly after the ship left. 
According to an account in Seafaring Lore and Legend, "The rest of the voyage to Europe was such a litany of storms, engine trouble, and other disasters that the crew went on strike."
Once the vessel arrived at Liverpool, The captian finally declared what the crew had known all along: "it had been a very bad thing indeed to catch an albatross, let alone imprison it in a cage."

Friday, May 1, 2009

by Franz Wright
APRIL 27, 2009

Chapter minus two hundred and fifty
in which the author pays (and pays for it,
as always) a visit to one of the lost: I

dropped by the dark house with no furniture,
knocked, and was introduced to her mother,
a woman much younger than she was

and for obscure reasons known only to
no one had kept her from childhood on
locked in the oven, &c. At this time

they were living together or, hard to say,
dying, possibly from a mystery
condition which fuelled and quite vivified

their blunt if obsessively honed and
devotedly mutual hatred
and hissing contempt: classic case of

the weapon lying down with the wound?
From the first I had no problem picturing
(and would have preferred to eat decaying

fish and live, rained on, under a bridge)
what would happen if harm came to one of them,
should indeed anything this side of murder

slash suicide occur, although if that did
it was anyone’s guess which event would
come first. In a flash you could see it:

all hostilities concluded, and their own
miniature World War III’s aftermath,
and the all-out final progressive and

uninterrupted commercial-free
stone-cold muttering psychosis awaiting
lone survivor of this conflict, the end.