Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xanadu

Xanadu is a word that has come up in popular culture, but Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a poem that used it back in 1798. The story I heard was that he wrote it under the influence of opium but was interrupted by some normal daily business, and when he tried to finish, the spell was gone. What he did complete became justifiably famous. Here is the first stanza.

Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.


Cairn Rodrigues said...

You didn't include the part of the poem where Gene Kelly rollerskates with Olivia Newton-John. That's the best part ;)

Bob Sanchez said...

Cairn, I hate to show my cultural ignorance, but which part is that? This is just the first stanza.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL! Bob, it's the movie Xanadau. And that was the first thing that came to my head, too.

Bob Sanchez said...

Then how about this, Diane?

In Xanadu did Newton-John
A stately pleasure-dome decree

Nick Wilford said...

I like the opium story. Don't rely on it myself, but I hate being interrupted by annoying "real life" stuff too!

Zoe said...

Was that poem a requirment of schools everywhere? Maybe it was a Massachusetts thing? I think I can still recite it.

Bob Sanchez said...

Zoe, I was introduced to the poem in high school, but can't say which grade. The entire poem is longer than the first stanza I posted.