Have you ever woken up from a particularly fascinating and vivid dream, then gotten distracted for a few minutes, and just when you’re about to tell somebody about it, it seems to have vanished into thin air — and you try to recall it, but all you get is a fallen leaf here and a bit of tissue paper there, nothing solid to grab hold of? Well, imagine that you wake up composing a poem or a song, and a Person from Porlock shows up at your door, and you have to attend to his business, and when you go back to your paper, you see the words you’ve written, but otherwise you come to a blank wall. That’s what Samuel Taylor Coleridge says happened to him, the morning when he woke up composing “Kubla Khan,” our poem this week. Poof, it was gone!
We can well see why. The poem is all about fantastic visions that move the artist’s mind and soul to creative action. But the thing about visions is that they simply won’t come at your beck and call. They are as fleeting as ghosts, and just as unrelia…
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