Peach Blossom Dreaming

Peach blossoms furnish inwrought dreaming room
Intangible to fingertips corrupt;
__Substantially beyond each tapered petal’s plume
Flow fragrances to subtly interrupt
The wintry retrospectives of my gloom.

On water shields and Long Jing tea we supped,
But now beneath peach buds you prate of wine
__Poured out from mountains of the moon in honey-cupped
Receptacles transporting us to dine
Carefree on duck and frothy syllabub.

Spring nights a thousand golden coins outshine,
Sunsets astound, pagoda bells resound
__While flowerets wink within a willow veil design;
The dawn upon your causeway’s vantage ground
Amazes me as light and lake combine.

Far-sighted friend who formed West Lake and found
The moon a single pearl dropped in your ring,
__You gave the city only this enclosure crowned
With moisture strengthening and sweetening
The coral trees where births of verse abound.

To freezing Hangzhou I came foraging
For flowers edible from poets whom
__I couldn’t read or meet, but whispers freshening
The air relayed how times of brandied bloom
Seek out the one who rhymes peach blossom spring.



Poet’s Note

The poem contains a stream of allusions to poets first encountered on a visit to Hangzhou in the dead of winter: Li Bai (701–762) in the second stanza, Su Shi (1037–1101) in the third, and Bai Juyi (772–846) in the fourth. Su Shi and Bai Juyi were governors of Hangzhou. Both built causeways on the West Lake, a renowned scenic spot enhanced as a reservoir by Bai Juyi. “Peach Blossom Spring” is a tale of finding a happy land where time has stopped, but not being able to return.

The form of the poem, with a longer line in the center of each of the five stanzas, reflects the shape of a peach blossom’s delicately pointed petals.



Margaret Coats lives in California.  She holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University.  She has retired from a career of teaching literature, languages, and writing that included considerable work in homeschooling for her own family and others. 

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35 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    I’ve been Kubla Khan-ed!

    This poem will take several re-reads to get everything from it, and is thoroughly enchanting, Margaret.

    I’ve even learned a new word, ‘syllabub’, which to a poet sounds more enticing than ambrosia – but then I got to see the mouth-watering pictures on my computer.

    Thanks for the read.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thank you, Paul! I didn’t set out to imitate Coleridge, but this is a poem of the same lyric kind as “Kubla Khan.” Hangzhou (unlike Xanadu) is a real place, and meeting the Chinese poets is the fantasy portion of it. But again, that fantasy happened as I read English translations available in this city of poets. I put syllabub on our menu to offer them a taste of a Western dessert drink (16th-cenury concoction, old-fashioned to us, but futuristic to them). Glad you find it appealing!

  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Replete with alliteration, exceptional words and phrases, and vivid imagery, as always, enchants the reader and transports the reader to another place and time. Like Paul, “Peach Blossom Dreaming” is a poem to be read more than once by the same person, me! Your Far East interests provide us with exotic settings and exquisite subjects that make us hunger for more. You are truly a gem. Thank you for this.

    • Margaret Coats

      Many thanks to you, Roy, and to others willing to devote time to several readings of this, my most complex poem. I hope it repays you with interest! I wanted to do a peach blossom poem for this year (after cherry blossoms and plum blossoms the past two years), and that meant deciding whether to take the difficult route of acknowledging the profound motifs of Chinese and Japanese fiction dealing with peach blossoms. It became more exotic as I went, and I’m happy that you’ve found it enjoyable.

  3. Jeremiah Johnson

    Love this one! I’ve spent time in Hangzhou, and can vividly remember its architecture and the West Lake.

    I particularly like the lines:

    “The wintry retrospectives of my gloom.”

    “Spring nights a thousand golden coins outshine,” (don’t know that I’ve ever come across that metaphor for a starry sky!)

    and the phrase “brandied bloom.”

    Somehow you remind me of Vincent Millay’s and Elizabeth Bishop’s reflections on nature.

    That, and of an afternoon I spent in a park in China reading Yeats, of all people.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thank you, Jeremiah. The West Lake, with its many special sights, is the focus of this poem. I didn’t see peach blossoms on my winter visit there, but the lakeside park where they were getting ready to bloom among always-weeping willows set the scene. I’m gratified that the first line and final phrase you like are my own. That other one, with stars as gold coins, comes from Su Shi (also known as Su Dong Po), put into iambic pentameter by me. I’m very pleased that you are impressed what I consider his best line.

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    This is “a fine frenzy” of language, as Shakespeare might have said. The poet pushes syntax to the limit, which is why more than one reading is necessary.

    The first two lines give us a sentence that baffles on first perusal, and the following three lines are sentences where the subject and verb are embedded in the middle, and inverted (“Flow fragrances”). In the third stanza’s beginning line something similar happens, where we get a subject-object-verb arrangement that might be misread at first glance, but which context tells us that “nights” is the subject, not “coins.”

    Add to all this a strangely beautiful choice of diction: “inwrought,” “honey-cupped,” “syllabub,” “brandied.”

    I find one thing mysteriously intriguing — who is being addressed in the second stanza? The use of the somewhat disparaging word “prate” suggests that the speaker entertains an element of contempt for the person.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thanks for your comment, Joe. You’ve read in accord with my intent, without going on to imagine an interpretation. The first stanza is baffling because of the self-absorption of the speaker, which she finally identifies as “gloom.” As indicated in the note, this is an account of my meeting with Chinese poets, but because very few of us reading this post know anything about them, I identified three and told you as reader to trust me that I speak of them and their works. Thus in the second stanza, “you” is Li Bai (or Li Po or Li Bo). He is the world’s most inebriated poet, with such genius that great poetry emerges from his intoxication. He wrote something suggesting that he could pour wine from the mountains of the moon (typical iconography shows Li Bai with wine cup admiring the moon). Having met him in wintry Hangzhou, where the local delicacies are Dragon Well tea and aquatic plants (West Lake water shields are unimaginably delectable), my gloom is unsettled by his drunken babble as peach buds show that spring approaches. As you say, it is “an element of contempt” only that my speaker feels when he “prates” of wine leading on to carefree enjoyment of more luxurious fare. But even you must admit that the great poet challenges the Confucian observer wondering whether his intoxicated state might be passing the bounds of principle, when he suggests mixing milk and wine in entirely untraditional syllabub.

  5. Cheryl Corey

    Your poem sent me online to look for more photos of peach blossoms, and also to find out what the heck a “syllabub” is. Now that I know, I can see what the “hub-bub” is all about! It sounds like a delectable dessert, one that I’d like to try making, although substituting apple juice or cider for a non-alcoholic version.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thanks, Cheryl. I hope others will look at more photos of peach blossoms, particularly the red ones you’ll see if you search for “West Lake Hangzhou peach blossoms.” That shows the full scene, while close-ups like the illustration above reveal that peach blossom petals are somewhat pointed, as is my stanza form. And I’m glad you want to make syllabub! The drink demands that the barista follow a process to produce the lovely froth. The word here implies that all the ingredients we use AND our procedures are important in producing poetry. Like us, Li Bai (when sober) spoke seriously about his need to revive ancient forms in order to breathe a new spirit into the decadent poetry of his age. I appreciate your contribution to the hubbub about syllabub!

  6. Brian A Yapko

    Margaret, I echo the chorus of praise for this enchanting poem which weds so many beautiful images of nature, artistry and pleasure! Thank you for explaining the structure of this poem – it is always a pleasure to see the level of sensitivity you use to integrate form and content. With five stanzas of five lines each, each stanza could be a petal in itself or an entire flower made of the five petals. And even before I got to your poet’s note, I recognized your carefully considered decision to deviate from pentameter to hexameter in the third line of each stanza as something which suggested floral symmetry. You could have gone even more extreme by doing tetrameter, pentameter, hexameter, pentameter, tetrameter, but to do so would have been less subtle and would have cost the content of your poem dearly.

    Your allusions to Chinese poets is quite intriguing as is your literary vocabulary and formalistic use of syntax. A content question: are the third, fourth and fifth stanzas actually directed to the poets you reference? The speaker frames the poem in stanzas 1 and 5. The “you” in the succeeding stanza seems quite different in each stanza. Stanza 2’s “you” enjoys the gastronomic pleasures of life – syllabub (did this exist in China?) , wine, honey, duck. Stanza 3’s “you” is purely aesthetic in appealing to the eye and ear in a variety of different ways. And Stanza 4 focuses on the moon as that single pearl but, perhaps more importantly, the gift the poet gave to Hangzhou which seems more spiritual than sensory. Stanza 5 then redirects the focus back to your self as you came to “forage” and were rewarded with beautiful poetry.

    The subject matter and your treatment of it is highly sophisticated, highly evocative and completely magical.

    • Margaret Coats

      Brian, thank you for considering what each stanza does, and especially for the vital observation that in each of the three middle stanzas, “you” is a different person. The third stanza, where “you” is Su Shi, represents the full glory of my peach blossom spring at West Lake. It starts with a line of Su’s own about the stars, then moves through the night toward dawn. On a detailed West Lake map for visitors, there is actually a point called “Spring Dawn on the Su Causeway.” It’s considered the ideal place to stand for one of the spectacular sights of a lifetime that I haven’t experienced. Su’s low wooden causeway runs the full length of West Lake, enabling visitors to cross it almost as if they were walking on water. Many of the noted beauty spots are visible, and the light is always changing. Sunset in any season is magnificent.

      The Bai causeway, centuries older, is shorter, passing over a small part of the width of the lake and leading to the famous Broken Bridge, so called because it is supposed to look broken with snow and ice on it in winter. That I have seen. The fourth stanza quotes two poems by Bai Juyi. The West Lake existed before Bai’s governorship, but he, improving it to be a reservoir for times of drought, defined its shape and therefore it became his “ring.” One of his poems tells how the moon, shining above the still waters of the lake on a dark night, seemed to be a pearl that had dropped into his ring. Bai also wrote a farewell poem to Hangzhou when he left office, apologizing for his failure to make the people prosperous and happy. His enormous expenditure for public works had done no more than insure they would have water in times of drought. But considering the fundamental necessity of water, along with the West Lake’s future of beauty touching souls and inspiring art, what a splendid and enduring gift!

  7. Sally Cook

    Margaret, I thoroughly enjoy reading a poem which follows the shape of a flower! Added to that, the description of tastes which are so pungent and perfect – how could anyone not want to stay there forever?

    If only life could hold the same perfection. A lovely image. Thank you.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thank you, Sally! I’m happy to appeal to your tastes, and hope you enjoyed over-the-top moon quotes from two of the Chinese poets, balanced by the third who must be thinking of moon and stars too when he finds that spring nights outshine a thousand golden coins. While I couldn’t stay at the beautiful West Lake, I brought home those books of poetry to embellish my life.

  8. Paul Buchheit

    Margaret, your images carry me to an exotic place that delights the senses. Thank you!

    • Margaret Coats

      Paul, when I began that exotic trip I was numb, so I’m glad to see my account of it can be a delight to others. Thank you!

  9. C.B. Anderson

    Your verbal flourishes in this poem are remarkable in themselves, as every commenter has noted, but what really strikes me is how much is going on subliminally. This is damn good work. At this moment I am in Half Moon Bay, CA, enjoying the early flowers on almost everything here. Reading this here and now is the capstone of my winter vacation.

    • Margaret Coats

      Glad you enjoy my poem that developed out of a winter vacation! Half Moon Bay is itself a renowned scene of beauty; beach and bay sunsets must be marvelous. Do you happen to be a golfer? Concerning the poem, thanks for bringing in the word “subliminal.” Now that you mention it, the speaker in the first stanza suggests that kind of thing, then ends the poem returning to the idea. Flying through the centuries with the Chinese poets gives plenty of scope for subliminal effects, whether we suppose them happening to the speaker or to the reader. Much appreciate the subtlety of your critical thought!

      • C.B. Anderson

        I have to be subtle, because my ideas are not all that cogent.

      • Margaret Coats

        Pointing out the direction for new insights also works.

  10. Mia

    Dear Margaret
    Another enchanting poem and it is amazing how much this one has made me look forward to spring. When it arrives, soon I hope, I think I will be even more thankful and aware of it because of your poetry. Thank you

    • Margaret Coats

      Thank you so very much, Mia. The three Chinese poets here certainly helped me to achieve a forward-looking attitude during that visit to Hangzhou and the West Lake. I’m happy to have looked back at their poems and conveyed to you something of what I found in them and in the scenery which is inspiring even in the winter. Best wishes for a lovely spring!

  11. Alena Casey

    Other commenters have had more insight than I can hope to offer, but I just have to say how breathtaking this poem is. I keep returning to it. The extra foot in the middle line is graceful. The rich vocabulary and syntax leave me feeling like the poem simply overflowed with beautiful thoughts and images. I appreciate your note and your further explanations in the comments.

    • Margaret Coats

      Alena, your insight and response is very valuable to me. I am so glad you point to the lengthened middle line of each stanza as graceful. This assures me I have fashioned the poem into blossom-like beauty. Thank you for reading and for making this welcome comment.

  12. BDW

    First, it is true that Conon de Bethune was “sincere about his ideals of faith and chivalry”…which placed him “in the mainstream of what his society considered true and just”—it just wasn’t the monstrosity of the World Pound found. Secondly, one should not require that Petrarca or Ronsard follow the cultural norms of Ancient Rome, or old France. Their attempts were fine gambits; for even in their failures they were attempting so much more than Conon de Bethune. As was Pound.

    It is true of Pound that he could not “embrace many modern ideas and practices” [an impossibility?] ; and that, importantly, “Pound really was a man without a culture to call his own” [a particularly American problem?]. But he did show very clearly the difficulty of writing a modern epic, since he felt he could not use the iambic pentameter, as displayed, for example, in Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, or latter-day epicists; nor would he attempt a prose kinema in the manner of Melville.

    Leaving Pound, however, Ms. Coats is American, and Poundian, in her researching of various cultural milieux: French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. But that is exactly what makes writing a NewMillennial epic so damned difficult. The World is huge. What single individual can gather up even 1% of its multitudinous strands, while, at the same time possessing the power of a Shakespearean style, or, even merely the solemn strength of Milton’s. I do like Frederick Turner’s attempts; but he’s not really there for want of a solid line, the realities of Shakespearean poetic dramas, or, for that matter, Milton’s grand epical journey.

    Not unusual, Ms. Coats did inspire, in this case, the strange, following take:

    Song of the Bowmen of Shu
    by Li “Sacred Bee” Du
    for Burton Watson

    There they were picking first fern-shoots, and saying, ‘When shall we
    return to home?’ as they were there because of th’ enemy.
    They had no comfort due to Xianyun; they grubbed on fern-shoots.
    When any said ‘return,’ the others filled up on sad roots.

    Their minds were strong with sorrow. They did thirst and hunger too.
    Yet their defense was still unsure. Can none return? Is ‘t true?
    They grubbed on old fern-stalks, and said, “Will we go back in fall?”
    There is no ease in the affairs of royalty at all.

    Their bitter sorrow kept them from returning to their land.
    What flower had come into bloom? Whose chariot at hand?
    It was the general’s, his horses. They were tir’d, each one.
    They once were strong. They had no rest, three battles every month.

    The generals were on the horses, soldiers were by them.
    They rode with arrows made of iv’ry, quivers of fish-skin.
    The enemy was swift. They must be shrewd maneuvering.
    When they set out, the willow trees were drooping with the spring.

    Then they were coming back in snow, and they went very slow.
    They thirsted, hungered. They were sad. Yes, they were feeling low.
    Their minds were full of sorrow. O. Bu’ no one knew their grief,
    though Pound through Fenollosa mention it last century.

    Li “Sacred Bee” Du is a poet of Ancient Chinese literature. Burton Watson (1925-2017) was a PostModernist American translator. Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908) was an American Realist Orientalist.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thanks and no thanks, Bruce, for crediting me with inspiring a “take” on one of Pound’s poems, which, as you are well aware, is a “take” of Fenellosa’s notes, probably on a Japanese “take” of a Chinese poem. Your method is very like Pound’s, and your poem much the same as his. I hope Burton Watson liked it.

      My approach in “Peach Blossom Dreaming” is different, and plenty has been said about it in these comments, by me and others. My method varies as well in other poems concerning the cultural milieux that I explore or claim as my own. Having more than one is not an American problem, but a multi-faceted reality of American experience. You are right that the world is often larger for poets at present, because of travel and education, not to mention backdrops of inheritance in which we all rejoice. That doesn’t stop anyone from writing epics; in fact, it seems to impel many contemporary poets to try it, perhaps because they think epic scope is theirs for the taking in present global perspectives. I don’t think so, and I do respect the traditional view that a poet serves apprenticeship in other styles before he is capable of epic. But with regard to Pound and epic and Conon de Bethune, with which you began this comment, I’ve said a few things back in the post on Conon’s double ballade. Many thanks for taking up the topics you speak about here and there. We don’t agree on some particulars, but the discussion is always of interest.

      • BDW

        “Peach Blossom Dreaming” by Margaret Coats is one of those New Millenial poems that pays dividends upon reading, rereading, and rerereading… In five stanzas of five lines of five sentences, its longest lines are in the center of each, which the author points out reflect the shape of a peach blossom’s intricately five pointed petals, a mildly visual example of that tradition of visually patterned poems, like those of Simmias of Rhodes or George Herbert.

        The shaping of the verse itself, is reminiscent of Gerard Hopkins in its lush diction and the striking phrasing that occasionally rises to the surface. But this is not sprung verse. It is a thoughtful, subtle, nuanced complex with a cloying slowness of movement appropriate for its tones and observations, “the wintry retrospective of my gloom”, “you prate of wine”, and the con-fusion of the apostrophe. The rhymes contributes to the slowness of the poem, as they go back and forth throughout. Though, of course, Hangzhou is not Xanadu, the poem does share a Coleridgean exoticism and a Wordsworthian natural sublime, as seen in “…Tintern Abbey”.


        As to the remarks which relate to a previous discussion on Conon de Bethune and Ezra Pound:

        The reason Burton Watson is mentioned is because his translation of the poem is superior to that of Pound’s, etc.

        The reason Pound was paraphrased here was to throw his words into iambic heptameters, with a twist, id est, placing Pound and Fenollosa into the poem, not covertly, but overtly, thus pointing out that the writer of the musical Chinese verse who felt no one knew of their pain; and yet because of the poem itself it is remembered thousands of years later.

        As to your other remarks, I’ll just note a couple of quotes from T. S. Eliot.

        ‘Our civilization comprehends great variety and complexity, and this variety and complexity, playing upon a refined sensibility, must produce various and complex results. The poet must become more and more comprehensive, more allusive, more indirect, in order to force, to dislocate if necessary, language into his meaning.’

        ‘One is prepared for art when one has ceased to be interested in one’s own emotions and experiences except as material. . . . The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.’

        Many years ago, maybe twenty, Wu “Sacred Bee” Li wrote the following poem, which in no way nears the quality of your own poem. It is included merely to show how writers do commune with each other over time and space; perhaps because sometimes those are the only voices with which one can.

        Peach Blossom Spring
        by Wu “Sacred Bee” Li

        T’ao Yüan-ming, I live in a place where
        lots of fishermen live and like to go
        up the valley streams, and without a care,
        dip their lines into the water’s clear flow,
        to catch a fish. And some of these guys dream
        of finding a place like Peach Blossom Spring
        that sends forth clear water and feeds both stream
        and soul. For them it is an awesome thing.
        So they keep going back, hoping to find
        that lovely piece of Heaven on the Earth,
        that placid, peaceful palace of the mind,
        that place of slow pace and infinite worth.

        In the following tennos of 2016, here is a more recent biographical take.

        Tao Yuanming
        by Wu “Sacred Bee” Li

        The Master of Five Willows lived in Jiangxi near Mount Lu.
        Mulberry-Bramble was his village, Lake Poyang his view.
        A man of few words, and retiring by nature, he
        did not desire fame or money, only books to read.
        Whenever he found certain books, he would forget his meals.
        Though he could not afford wine always, it was his ideal.
        He drank to his content, but when too drunk, he’d leave at once.
        The walls around his house did not protect from wind or sun.
        His clothes though frayed, he would not bow to fill his bowl of rice.
        He was content with writing, for that was his way of life.

      • Margaret Coats

        Thank you again, Bruce, for more poems and especially for your carefully descriptive praise of mine. I did notice earlier, and neglected to mention, that I recognized your line in your version of the Bowmen of Shu. I still think it is so much like Pound’s that you must have accepted his translation (for this purpose at least) in preference to the better one by Burton Watson. I don’t know Watson’s, but as he could read and speak Chinese, he would certainly do better than Pound who could not.

        Thank you too for the pertinent quotes from Eliot. I have followed one of those ideas here, as “Peach Blossom Dreaming” represents a set of emotional experiences of my own, but so much in the past that I can use them as material. The advantage there is that I don’t need to explain or express my fundamental emotions at the time, but only indicate something of how I felt in meeting the great Chinese poets.

        Your two poems on Peach Blossom Spring present a contrast in their ending strategies. The first slows down and becomes expansive at the end, while the second shows the poet quickly and busily writing, because he is content with that as his life. These are diverse ways of responding to the classic Chinese tale. Mine, in “Peach Blossom Dreaming” simply acknowledges its existence, because I could not do otherwise in writing about peach blossoms within a Chinese setting. They waft an incense of the imagination interpreting what happened on that winter trip to Hangzhou.

  13. Monika Cooper

    So much beauty here and I feel allusions to hundreds of littler poems in the weave and breeze of it. (Well, not literally “hundreds” but poetic license. There are shadows of a whole tradition behind a poem like this.) I think would like Bai Juyi best, judging from his stanza. “The moon a single pearl dropped in your ring”! Oh why can’t *we* have poets like that for governors?

    • Margaret Coats

      Thanks, Monika! When I was on this China trip, I met two kinds of poetic tradition. I’d seen a few translations of Chinese poems before, but at Hangzhou I found low-cost books devoted to individual poets. I had never heard of Bai Juyi, but he became a favorite, which is why I call him “friend” in “Peach Blossom Dreaming.” And I also learned something of the tradition of writing poems around and about the West Lake, a place where “births of verse abound,” especially under “coral trees,” by which I mean peach trees with red blossoms. A statue of a poet writing a poem sits in the lakeshore area with many of those trees. I share your wish for governors with traditional poetic ability! Being able to compose and exchange poems used to be important in courtesy and diplomacy.

  14. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Margaret, I have read this poem many times together with the comments to fully appreciate the depth of this exquisite creation. I admire this poem for its use of poetic devices and its intricate form in keeping with the blossom. I admire the work that has gone into this complex piece of literature… a piece I am learning from. Thank you.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thank you, Susan. This is not an easy poem to present to general readers, because it demands knowledge of places and poets that few English-speakers have. I am very grateful to you and others here (mostly poets yourselves) for your willingness to listen. You assure me that a piece like this can be worth close reading and discussion–the best ways to enjoy poetry.

  15. Tom Rimer

    As the old expression goes, this elegant poem provides a brilliant example of “the art that hides art.” If one reads the poem without reference to the note provided, the “I” might conceivably be the same in each stanza, yet through the note we learn that each section involves a separate poet and makes use of the imagery he is famous for using. But most important of all is the final reference to the Peach Blossom Spring, one of the most beautiful and moving prose-poems in classical Chinese, one that suggests a yearning for something that, even if it can be found, can never be recovered. So for me, the suggestion therefore is that, for the poet (that is, you!) the entire poem is a dream of yearning. To take a suggestion from another of your readers, Coleridge does come to mind, but you have outdone him.

    Finally, for me, as the reader, I have never had the chance to visit Hangzhou, and so my yearning, now awakened to do so, layers upon yours.

    I have read the poem now five times and on each occasion the flow of words, and the sensations they create, become more evocative.

    Bravo indeed.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thank you, Tom, for a very wise comment. Poetry as dreaming (whether for writer or reader) does help satisfy that yearning so beautifully expressed in Peach Blossom Spring or other tales like it (the Scottish Brigadoon, for example). My explicit yearning in this dream poem is to meet the Chinese poets who remain inaccessible to me because I cannot read the language. History and geography put us in widely separated places; those barriers can be overcome to some degree by travel, but even with friendly persons we are able to meet, there are always those differences that come about because of “the road not taken.” This poem worked out to be, for me, a renewal of acquaintance with Li Bai, Su Shi, and Bai Juyi (and with Hangzhou) because I made something where we are all present. Coleridge, from his own account, was trying to recover a dream, or perhaps we should say, make something in which it could be permanent and available to others than himself. In fact, he claimed to have written the words we have while he was “under the influence,” but he was unable to complete the poem when he woke up or the opium wore off.

      I look forward to meeting you soon for one of those memorable experiences, but let me take the opportunity here to mention other very good Xanadu-like poems at this website: The Carnelian Ring, by Joseph S. Salemi, and two by Brian Yapko, The Secret Garden and The Amber Room. This must be something poetry writers and lovers need in our time!


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