WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE …

I couldn’t help it. Me and a million other English speakers saw this prompt, and instantly thought:

“Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”

The verse is extracted from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 7-part epic poem, “THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER.”

When I say epic, I’m not fooling around. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major (define major, please) poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It took two years to write (1797–98) and was published in 1798. It’s long. No kidding. LONG.

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Everyone who went to school where English is spoken probably knows of — or at least has heard — the “water, water, everywhere” verse … but do you know how many verses this poem has? Do you, huh?

One hundred and forty-three.

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I think Coleridge wrote the poem to punish the old guy for killing an albatross. Albatross killing was a totally uncool thing to do, at least if you were aboard a ship. Really bad luck, not only for you — the albatross slayer — but for the entire ship’s crew. When The Gods punish a misdeed, they don’t go with “surgical strike.” More like general smiting to produce mass death and associated damnation. Gods want to be sure everyone got the point. And always, there’s one poor slob left alive to tell the awful (long) tale.

What? You mean … he didn’t write the poem to punish someone? Ah, I see. He wrote it to tell us the terrible tragic story that befell the mariner for his shameful destruction of an innocent bird. Maybe it was the innocent wedding guest to whom the mariner confessed his crime … all 143 verses of it …who was being punished.

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I’m a better person than that. I won’t regale you with the long, sad story except to say that, in my opinion that one famous verse is the best one in the poem and if you know that one, you can fudge the rest. Also, it’s surprisingly hard to find a full text of the poem. You can find a lot of stuff about the poem. Analysis, history, context, criticism … but the whole poem? Most places just do sections. Me too.

However, for those who really need a full Coleridge experience, please feel free to click this link and go the full distance. Albatross, mariner, wedding guest, and becalmed ship upon the cruel ocean. Note: The version to which I have given you a link contains side notes so you don’t forget what’s going on while you travel through time upon the briny deep.

WATER | THE DAILY POST

FIRST PRIDE PARADE

On June 28, 1969, we went to see a play with a group of friends. When the show ended, we left the theater to fine the street full of people. Crowded. It was the first ever New York Pride Parade … and we were there — accidentally — but there. 

Photo: Alexander Thompson
Photo: Alexander Thompson

I’ve been seeing pictures from Pride Parades taking place all over the world. With all the hate rhetoric and negativity we are seeing these days, it’s encouraging to see how the concept of Gay Pride has spread all around the world. It’s a much-needed antidote to the awfulness of the rest of the political scene.

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The narrow-minded, stupid, loud-mouths of the world make the most noise. So much noise, that sometimes they drown the rest of us out, as if we don’t really exist. We exist. We care. We aren’t going away.

MACRO FUCHSIAS

Despite plague and panic, we have faithfully watered the fuchsia every day. Garry, my brave knight, has gone out there with the watering can, even when it was raining poisonous caterpillars. My hero!

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Our good luck that the gypsy caterpillars don’t like fuchsia! They left them in peace while devouring acres of oak and maple.

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We got out of the plague with our two catalpa trees, the ash tree, the lilac (which had already bloomed) … and the day lilies. The maples have new baby leaves, but the oaks are still starkly bare.

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The fuchsia are madly blooming. How I love my fuchsias!

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FLOWER OF THE DAY | MACRO FUCHSIAS

FOLLOWING SCOTUS

SCOTUS, aka the Supreme Court of The United States, had itself one big day yesterday. They come down solidly on the side of women’s rights against the state of Texas. The ruling will put a serious crimp in the campaign to sneak around Roe-V-Wade and make abortion impossible, if not illegal. The war against women just lost a battle. Yay team.

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In another decision yesterday, SCOTUS voted 6 to 2 supporting Maine’s right to prevent anyone convicted of domestic violence — felony or misdemeanor — from possessing guns. Not merely buying a gun, or even “owning” a gun — but possessing guns. This opens a lot of doors to questions about the meaning of the second amendment. Or, as Rory Little noted, “an unremarkable gun case may be harbinger of things to come.”

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I’m not going to present myself as any kind of legal scholar, but since I started following ScotusBlog, I feel I’m getting real information plus a sane interpretation of what it might mean — short and long-term. I recommend it. It’s good  to have a source for data on current issues.

With reality becoming increasingly slippery, with opinions more and more being proffered as a substitute for evidence, this is my antidote.