Stuck with an assignment to write a term paper analyzing Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan"? Want to score extra points for creativity? Consider lines 17-19, which read:

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:

The conventional stick-in-the-Sacred-River-Alph interpretation of this imagery is that something like a geyser is being expelled upward in spurts. The very ground seems to be panting—taking shallow, rapid breaths.

But to make your essay shine, just postulate this alternative: the Poet here is dreaming of a planet confined by plate-tectonic forces within its rigid crust. He envisions the earth as a person trapped "in fast thick pants":

Now it's obvious: Coleridge proclaims that the world is like somebody wearing too-heavy trousers who discovers the zipper stuck or the fasteners jammed—trapped, struggling to escape. Or maybe worse, the earth has its knickers in a knot, so tight that s/he can scarcely gasp for air. And as we all know, in countless double-blind controlled studies prominent scientists have found that tight underwear can kill you.

So Coleridge is actually making an ecological statement about the perilous fate of our planet, more than 200 years ahead of his time. Say that, and your paper is virtually guaranteed to get an "A"!

(with a tip o' the hat to the late John Candy's SCTV "Tight underwear can kill you" skit, ca. 1980 ...)

TopicHumor - TopicPoetry - TopicLiterature - 2005-05-21

(correlates: AirFlow, ThornEd, PyramidBuilding, ...)