Samuel Taylor Coleridge digests his grayish-green anodyne
and dreams of the kaleidoscopic exotica of Kublai Khan.
Orson Welles puffs his cigar between takes, edits and directs
the poet's smoke-thin visions into everlasting, silver celluloid.
Xanadu, palatial complex of Khan's magnificent Mongolian empire,
metamorphoses into the fantasy kingdom of Charles Foster Kane
and his flame-filled childhood. Fumes of sizzling rosebuds streak
traces of gray across his bejeweled grasping after operatic grandeur.
Coleridge pens imagery of high-minded passion, tragic loss,
despair at sea -- an epic Delacroix -- while William Wordsworth
lets loose a clear-eyed revolution in the high flowery stanzas
of England's prettified poetry. Plain diction and the depths
of the self, suckled by the mystic wonders of Lakeland's fells, attune
to the melody of the poet's maturation, nature's marvel of The Prelude.
Chubby, cherubic Coleridge chases after the lean, elegant Wordsworth
to connive an unpatched rupture in poetry's flow: birth of Romanticism.
Kublai Khan's courtly poets conjure impossible imperial feats
to further the wise warrior mystique of China's first conqueror.
Grandson of Genghis Khan, he weaves the calligraphy of his
bravery into the broad shield he uses to rebuff temptation
of all but the serpentine lure of luxury and opulence, his rightful
reward, his cherished spoils, interest compounded daily at Xanadu.
A knock at the door, and Coleridge's dream tears asunder on film,
dissipating with the vapors rising up from Welles’ golden cigar.
Wordsworth wanders lonely as a cloud, watchful of nature's glory
expressed in woodlands, mountains, and the steady wash of the sea.
This all can be praised without ornament, witnessed without
embellishment, an earthy channel for the radiance of the world
to bless us, even though the world is too much with us. How much
splendor can one soul gather into the barns of abundance? Coleridge,
dejected among his odes, seeks ever more film time. Khan, free of worldly weariness, tallies his treasures. Wordsworth waves a daffodil and weeps.