The darkness seen in the painting with the monk is simple yet powerful. It is an intimidating picture to see as the raw power of the ocean is no match for one person and their prayer. To me, it almost looks as if a tidal wave or tsunami is forming with the shape of the clouds. It looks as if the monk is going to be swallowed up regardless of his religious belief. The way we heard Iron Maiden play the Ryme of the Ancient Mariner, it kind of seems aggressive as well as if it is going to wreak havoc among whoever interferes. We then know, with a change of thought and belief, that everything somehow doesn’t turn out as permanent as thought, and a second chance is given to the mariner. So maybe, in a way, the monk by praying, or his presence alone, signifies that there is light behind those massive clouds.
Deathly is the sound of “his bones were black with many a crack (Ancient Mariner line 181). I imagine the wave delivering crushing force, delivering a blow that crushes us until a black carbon form, our most simple element of remnants. Perhaps that is what our mind wants us to think. What if we, for some miraculous reason are able to persevere and defeat all odds?
I leave it with “Still as a slave before his Lord” (line 419) to signify the humbleness of our composition. For the mighty ocean to spare us, and give us another opportunity in teaching and learning is miraculous. For us to realize and learn from an experience is so profound. I do not take it lightly in the lessons I experience on a daily basis. I always carry some sort of regret in the sense of how could I have been a better person. How could I have made things different if I were to be the last person on Earth. Reflection, and the multiple prayers addressed in this reading remind us to be our best selves every day.