Blood Journey II: The Ancient One
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How long in that same fit I lay, I have not to declare; But ere my living life returned, I heard and in my soul discerned Two voices in the air. By him who died on cross, With his cruel bow he laid full low The harmless albatross. The spirit who bideth by himself In the land of mist and snow, He loved the bird that loved the man Who shot him with his bow.
The other was a softer voice, As soft as honeydew: Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done, And penance more will do. What is the ocean doing? If he may know which way to go; For she guides him smooth or grim. See, brother, see! Fly, brother, fly! Or we shall be belated: For slow and slow that ship will go, When the mariner's trance is abated. I woke, and we were sailing on As in a gentle weather: 'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high; The dead men stood together.
All stood together on the deck, For a charnel-dungeon fitter: All fixed on me their stony eyes, That in the moon did glitter.
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The pang, the curse, with which they died, Had never passed away: I could not draw my eyes from theirs, Nor turn them up to pray. And now this spell was snapped: once more I viewed the ocean green, And looked far forth, yet little saw Of what had else been seen Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. But soon there breathed a wind on me, Nor sound nor motion made: Its path was not upon the sea, In ripple or in shade.
It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek Like a meadow-gale of spring-- It mingled strangely with my fears, Yet it felt like a welcoming. Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship, Yet she sailed softly too: Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze-- On me alone it blew. O dream of joy!
Is this the hill? Is this mine own country? We drifted o'er the harbour bar, And I with sobs did pray-- O let me be awake, my God! Or let me sleep alway! The harbour bay was clear as glass, So smoothly it was strewn! And on the bay the moonlight lay, And the shadow of the moon. The rock shone bright, the kirk no less, That stands above the rock: The moonlight steeped in silentness The steady weathercock. And the bay was white with silent light, Till rising from the same, Full many shapes, that shadows were, In crimson colours came. A little distance from the prow Those crimson shadows were: I turned my eyes upon the deck-- O Christ!
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat, And, by the holy rood! A man all light, a seraph man, On every corse there stood. This seraph band, each waved his hand: It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land, Each one a lovely light;. This seraph band, each waved his hand, No voice did they impart-- No voice; but oh!
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But soon I heard the dash of oars, I heard the pilot's cheer; My head was turned perforce away And I saw a boat appear. The pilot and the pilot's boy, I heard them coming fast: Dear Lord in heaven! I saw a third--I heard his voice: It is the hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns That he makes in the wood. He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away The albatross's blood. This hermit good lives in that wood Which slopes down to the sea. How loudly his sweet voice he rears! He loves to talk with mariners That come from a far country.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve-- He hath a cushion plump: It is the moss that wholly hides The rotted old oak stump. The skiff boat neared: I heard them talk, 'Why, this is strange, I trow! Where are those lights so many and fair, That signal made but now? The planks look warped! I never saw aught like to them, Unless perchance it were. Brown skeletons of leaves that lag My forest-brook along; When the ivy tod is heavy with snow, And the owlet whoops to the wolf below, That eats the she-wolf's young. The boat came closer to the ship, But I nor spake nor stirred; The boat came close beneath the ship, And straight a sound was heard.
Under the water it rumbled on, Still louder and more dread: It reached the ship, it split the bay; The ship went down like lead. Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound, Which sky and ocean smote Like one that hath been seven days drowned My body lay afloat; But swift as dreams, myself I found Within the pilot's boat.
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Upon the whirl, where sank the ship, The boat spun round and round; And all was still, save that the hill Was telling of the sound. I moved my lips--the pilot shrieked And fell down in a fit; The holy hermit raised his eyes, And prayed where he did sit. I took the oars: the pilot's boy, Who now doth crazy go, Laughed loud and long, and all the while His eyes went to and fro. And now, all in my own country, I stood on the firm land! The hermit stepped forth from the boat, And scarcely he could stand.
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched With a woeful agony, Which forced me to begin my tale; And then it left me free. Since then, at an uncertain hour, That agony returns: And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns. I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; The moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach.
What loud uproar bursts from that door! The wedding-guests are there: But in the garden-bower the bride And bridemaids singing are: And hark the little vesper bell, Which biddeth me to prayer! O wedding-guest! This soul hath been Alone on a wide wide sea: So lonely 'twas, that God himself Scarce seemed there to be. Oh sweeter than the marriage feast, 'Tis sweeter far to me, To walk together to the kirk With a goodly company!
To walk together to the kirk, And all together pray, While each to his great Father bends, Old men, and babes, and loving friends And youths and maidens gay! Farewell, farewell! He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. The mariner, whose eye is bright, Whose beard with age is hoar, Is gone: and now the wedding-guest Turned from the bridegroom's door. He went like one that hath been stunned, And is of sense forlorn: A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn.
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Academy of American Poets. National Poetry Month. American Poets Magazine. Poems Find and share the perfect poems. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Part II The sun now rose upon the right: Out of the sea came he, Still hid in mist, and on the left Went down into the sea. Part III There passed a weary time.
The moving moon went up the sky, And nowhere did abide: Softly she was going up, And a star or two beside-- Her beams bemocked the sultry main, Like April hoar-frost spread; But where the ship's huge shadow lay, The charmed water burnt alway A still and awful red.
Part V Oh sleep! And now this spell was snapped: once more I viewed the ocean green, And looked far forth, yet little saw Of what had else been seen-- Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread.