“To the Poet Coleridge” by Mary Robinson

MaryRobinsonYesterday and read and wrote about a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who is one of my favorite poets. This morning, I was debating whether to continue reading a novel I started or read a poem. I opted for a poem and scanned the table of contents in my collection of English Romantic Writers, looking for something which would be completely new for me. A poem by Mary Robinson caught my eye because it was addressed to Coleridge. I had never read anything by Robinson, in fact, I had not even heard of her before, so I decided to read the poem. (Click here to read the poem online.)

I love this poem! It works for me on many levels. First off, it’s very well written. Nothing here seems forced. The cadence of the poem is very musical and the words flow effortlessly. It seems more like an inspired outpouring of the soul than a constructed piece of writing.

Robinson praises Coleridge, particularly for his ability to inspire her as a poet, which to me is the ultimate praise. As a writer and musician, nothing fills me with humble joy quite like having someone tell me that what I’ve written or some music I’ve performed has sparked their artistic creativity. Robinson acknowledges that Coleridge’s words have provided her with visions and divine inspiration, the source of all meaningful artistic expression.

Genius of Heaven-taught poesy!
While, opening to my wondering eyes,
Thou bidst a new creation rise,
I’ll raptured trace the circling bounds
Of thy rich Paradise extended,
And listen to the varying sounds
Of winds, and foaming torrents blended.

I have to say that I feel inspired after reading Robinson’s poem today. She reminds me of why we read, why we listen to music, why we spend time gazing into the depths of a painting, and most importantly, why we create art.


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