#A to Z: Xanadu

In Grade 5, I memorized Kubla Khan, the wonderful poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about travel to the exotic land of Xanadu. I wanted Xanadu to be real, and to go there. The teacher gently explained the poem is an expression of where the mind can travel in imagination. So I bonded with this poem, thought about it all the time, imagined its settings.

Now, I find fragments of the poem often come to mind as I travel, background narration to whatever experience I’m having. It always makes me smile. This was the case in Monet’s Garden in France. Bowled over by the colors, scents and jungle of plantings created by this incredible artist, two lines popped up:

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

The sinuous rills and incense bearing plants were right there, flowing, thickly planted, and so beautiful it was hard to catch my breath. I am grateful to that teacher for the gift of this poem, and for the dimension it so often brings.

◊◊◊

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.
Read the whole poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge on The Poetry Foundation, here.

This post is for the #AtoZ challenge, Letter X

For links to all my #A to Z posts, click here

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