X is for Xanadu

A rather short entry for letter X.  But since the post describes beauty and inner peace, the fewer words the better.

What is Xanadu?

An idyllic, beautiful place poet Samuel Tyler Coleridge saw in a dream, which drove him to write “Kubla Khan,” an imaginative composition.

The poem is a piece of art in every respect, even though only a fragment of a longer work Coleridge had planned to write. We are left to regret the knock on the door, which erased the rest of the poem from his mind. As it exists, however, the poem is a perfect representation of verse attributed to mystery in dream.

As is the case with art in early stages, critics denounced “Kubla Khan” as incomprehensible, “a composition of sound rather than sense.” Not until years later, did the poem receive due recognition and admiration for its literary meaning:  mankind (a tyrant who imposes his will on his people) set against natural beauty.

And so what started with a dream prompted by the poet’s reading of the Purchas’ 17th century travel book, Purchas his Pilgrimage, and a fix of opium taken before he fell asleep, became a state of mind, a “place of beauty and contentment.”

Here is a fragment. I hope you enjoy it.

Kubla Khan (Partial)

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…..

It was a miracle of rare device, A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

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20 responses to “X is for Xanadu

  1. Hi Sylvia, this is such a lovely post thank you! The photograph is lovely and what you say about ‘regret the knock on the door’ turned out to be no bad thing either .. sort of like the ‘sunny caves… of ice’ in a way!
    I am so glad I found you on Kristen’s recent blog. You had commented on my ‘Why’ post, and when I hit your name I had no luck in accessing you. But now I have!
    Am going to check your previous post which looks interesting!
    Have a great weekend!
    Susan Scott’s Soul Stuff

  2. Okay, admission: when you say Xanadu I think roller skates and Olivia Newton John. Am I the onlyone? ha! I think your take is SO much better. :)

  3. What a gorgeous post! And the pictures are wonderful – you have an artist’s eye!

  4. Enjoyed Coleridge. did him at school, Kubla Khan and Xanadu always brought visions of mystical places, somewhat spoilt by Oliver Newton John and the Mad Max movies:)
    #atozchallenge
    maggie at expat brazil

  5. The poem and the pictures are perfect silvia.

  6. I too think of Olivia Newton John when I think of Xanadu. The poem excerpt is much better than the song by ONJ. :)

  7. I was so glad Stacey said she thought of Roller skates and Olivia Newton John because after your beautiful post I felt so guilty, all I could think of was that movie and song. I love learning something new and what much lovelier and more beautiful image for Xanadu. So, wish Olivia Newton John wouldn’t have ruined it for me LOL

  8. Wonderful post and I do love this poem. I was not aware that there was to be more but his creativity was interrupted.

  9. The only Xanadu I knew about before today was the slots game in Vegas. Hahaha. I’m glad A to Z is so educational.

  10. I know the opening lines to this poem (who doesn’t?), but I have to confess I hadn’t read any more of it. Will have to look it up now. And I love the beautiful images you’ve chosen for this post. Awe inspiring.

    Rinelle Grey

  11. Stacey, you’re not alone–for me too Xanadu=roller skates & Olivia, perhaps something from a comic *blushes*. Silvia, thanks for educating us. I’d never thought to research Xanadu, and this concept of Coleridge’s is beautiful. Thanks for sharing the fragment!

    So glad I found your blog, too :) Thanks for stopping over on mine earlier this month, and sorry it took me so long to return the visit. We’ve been on vacation, and only now catching up. But I’ll be back, haha :)

  12. This is my favorite X word so far. Beautiful! I think the photos describe it perfectly without words, as well.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen’s blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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