Nightmare on a Boat

As you search for purpose and reason in your life through the realms of academia and erudition, perhaps fervent scouring of the vast depths of philosophy and science have sapped the essence of your weary mind; it is now then, the time to embrace your unique soul and the boundaries of raw emotion to harness your latent aptitude. Romanticism embodies the feeling you get after finishing all of your finals or papers, an exuberant spark of joy, the exclamation mark, the incessant cry of a newborn, a declaration that emotion holds more meaning to the human experience than the infinitude of logic.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner takes you on a distortion of reality, an eventful mind-bending tale of confounding sequences. The journey that you embark upon while reading of the experience that the Ancient Mariner shares, encourages you to look beyond what you see, to listen to more than what you can hear. Your imagination is paramount and to neglect it would spell emptiness and suffering altogether. Coleridge’s poems tell us to live fruitfully and experience continuously, reinventing the norm and insinuating creation and originality. Centuries later, his tale of a nightmare at sea, would continue on.

Plug the amp, align your cymbals, tune your six-strings, where else but music lays the ultimate expression of individuality and freedom of spirit? Iron Maiden breathes horror, excitement, uncertainty, fear, and wisdom in their reinterpretation of the romantic classic. The phases of varying tempo in Iron Maiden’s version of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner express the development of emotion in the story. Repetition echoes the lament and suffering of the Mariner. The sudden intensity of the climax breathes raw emotion and absolute passion through persistent beats. Perhaps the spirit of Coleridge remains head-banging to this metal classic Although the song represents creative ingenuity, the powerful imagery of Coleridge’s Poem is unmatched through the metal reproduction.

The ominous feeling of grief and hopelessness captured by Samuel Taylor Coleridge can not be imitated. “The water, like a witch’s oils, Burnt green, and blue and white.” (30)The unusual coloring of the water signifies an abnormal otherworldly presence. The lines of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner induce spooking chills and a sense of uncertainty.

The juxtaposition of intense metal and image-inducing poetry enables us to understand the capacities of human imagination. Emotion can be represented in an endless number of ways. As Iron Maiden’s classic, of a romantic classic, lives on to entertain new audiences, we are reminded that imagination and individuality live on and on. I’m sure Coleridge would be proud, in some way.


Thomas Pham


7 thoughts on “Nightmare on a Boat

  1. I really enjoy the diction you use to explain your point of view -quite eloquent and agreeable. In addition, I like how you focus on the emotion that is evoked from listening to the Iron Maiden version, as it is on point. It was if I was reading an actual song review. Great job.

    -Marcy Martinez

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I honestly loved how your wrote your blog post; the introductory sentence really pulled me in because it was so personal to the viewer, especially since as a college student I strive for the pursuit of making something with my higher learning. I especially like how you manifested images in my head in your description of heavy metal, and how it highlights the unique idea of romanticism. My only criticism would be to have a stance, because there does not seem to be a concrete argument in your blog at the moment.–Jessica Mijares

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do enjoy the reference made to that of which we must keep at constant use of our imagination. I would have liked to see a personal reference tied in from music as it seems you are fairly knowledgeable about music.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a very well written blog post, with a clear yet passionate point to be made. I enjoyed reading this, and one thing that particularly captured my eye is when you wrote, “The ominous feeling of grief and hopelessness captured by Samuel Taylor Coleridge can not be imitated”. I agree with the fact it can’t ever be imitated, but nevertheless there seems to be a deep appreciation for the work, one notable with your chosen words. Good post man.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I thought it was a clever idea to utilize a lot of sensory details in this blog to basically parallel the trope of imagination within the poem and the song. I like that you matched the metal characteristics of the song to the spooky characteristics of the diction in the poem–both being romantic. Maybe a little more textual evidence and this could lead to an essay.

    Liked by 1 person

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