Like Vessel, Like Crew

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Lines 190-94

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-mare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.


Nothing exemplifies a facade more clearly than a movie set.  The illusion of an old west town, or a busy metropolitan street or perhaps even a dense and impenetrable jungle is quickly dissolved when you look behind the outer shell to see the emptiness behind.  The same is true with much of what the world holds forth as representative of the good life.

As Malcolm Guite writes in Chapter Eight of Mariner:

What if we have life, and all the means of life, but we can make nothing of it, get no good from it? What if the endless iteration of images of beauty and of “the good life,” the pointing and beckoning bright young things that fill the ads, the posters, the repetitions of the internet, the red lips, the yellow hair, the free looks—what if all of those become so empty, so meaningless, so utterly contrasted with our real states, our real circumstances and lives, that they become, not an enhancing beauty, but a nightmare collage of triviality and emptiness?

Have you ever sought something that PROMISED FULFILLMENT but delivered emptiness?

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Rick Wilcox is Editor in Chief