Neck. That’s what you think about when you hear the word ‘albatross’, isn’t it? Water, water, everywhere. The Ancient Mariner trying to tell his story. Nor any drop to drink. Maybe this blog is the albatross round my neck as I try to tell my story through your words and ideas. I seem to feel the same compulsion.
But back to the Ancient Mariner. Memories of English Literature O level! All those years ago. We had to study eight narrative poems and they were so long. And difficult. None of us had a clue what Sohrab and Rustum was about. Or La Belle Dame Sans Merci! Or even the Lady of Shallott Then suddenly we were confronted with the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. To our relief it bowled along merrily despite its weird subject matter. I’ve just reread it and it seems as if Coleridge’s opium had really got the better of him. Rollicking rhyme, a type of onomatopoeia I suppose, as you go along with it interminably. Could almost make you sea sick.
Though thirty years after I first read the poem I decided it would fit the bill perfectly for the National Curriculum’s diktat that all teenagers should read classical poetry. I reckoned my class could cover that section in one afternoon. So I read them the poem in as dramatic a way as I could manage. I read, they drew sketches of scenes they could imagine and the teaching assistant fell asleep! She said it was like being read to by her mother at bedtime. Was that a compliment? I wonder.
another word for me?