Rime of the Auntcient Mariner

With thanks to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A middle-aged Mariner meeteth four Morgendorffers bidden to a wedding-feast, and detaineth one.

It is stylish Amy Barksdale,

And she stoppeth her young niece,

'By thy long hair and glittering eye,

When can we leave this piece?

The Bridegroom's doors are opened wide,

And I do wish to flee,

The guests have met, the feud is set

I fear a killing spree'

She guides her with her skinny hand,

'There was a trip,' quoth she.

'Go on! Tell me, anything but this!”

And soon her hand dropped she.

She holds her with her glancing eye

And Daria stood still,

She listens like an attentive teen,

The Barksdale hath her will.

The bridesmaid she sat on a chair,

She listens to the tales,

And so spake on that cynic aunt

Youngest of the Barksdales

'With school we parted the summer started

Merrily did we go,

Below the gate, below the slate,

Below the urban flow.

Your mother sat upon the left,

Fresh from university,

And she smiled bright and on the right

Rita looked on with glee.

And so we set off to leave home

Our journey could begin'

Daria rose to interject

For she had now heard Quinn.

The bubbly bride paced through the hall

Red as a rose is she

Moving their feet before her go

The bridesmaid's misery.

Daria scoffed and turned her head

Away from the wedding vows,

To hear her Aunt's travel tales,

And avoid her sister's scowls.

The car driven by a turn toward the south.

'With high spirits we left our home

For the lengthy ramble

I think we should have known that

It would become a shambles

With engines' roar and choking smoke

We drove on past the highway

Somewhere in the middle of that day

And Helen looked ahead

The car moved fast, loud beeped the horn

The traffic jam we fled.

And now came both space and silence

The road had turned to dust

And tumbleweed came tumbling by

Dry and dull as rust.

And through the drifts the growing rifts

Did add a dismal air

No good conversation could I find

Rita could only stare.

Boredom was here, boredom was there

Ennui was all around

It snored and toyed, and bored and annoyed

Mocking our still sad sound.

Till a great roadblock, manned by police, came through the drifts, and was received

with great joy and hospitality.

At some distance appeared the police

Through the drifts they waited

As if they had been male models,

Rita's joy could not be sated.

They ate all the food they could eat

All the while staying still,

Helen now joined Rita in gawking,

The whole scene made me ill

And lo ! the Police proveth a body of appeal, and were followed by Helen and Rita's eyes through sun and blowing dust.

Yet my glare could not make them cease

They could not turn askew

And for all my noble efforts

They only looked anew!

Their burning sudden attraction

Had left me now dismayed

The car slowed down, I gave a frown

By sisters I felt betrayed

'Amy what the hell are you doing?'

Helen yelled as we began

To stop-My middle finger

I flipped off the cops.

Part II

The sun now fled into the night

And with him left his glow,

Sank away from sight, and vanished

Just as we had to go.

And the sirens began to blow,

But no sweet song did follow,

Nor any time for rest--Only

A chase into the morrow.

Her car mates cry out against the youngest sister, for ruining their chances of a quick flirt.

And I had done a snarky thing

Or so my sisters said:

For all averred, I had flipped the bird

That killed their chances dead

Ah nerd! they inferred, almost hissed

Our love might as well be dead.

But while they are chased, they do plead their innocence loudly, and thus avoid making themselves accomplices in the crime.

Nor dim nor red, like father's head,

The sun rose to the top

Then all stated, I had flipped the bird

That pissed off the cops

'Its done, said they, such things to say

Had I not mocked the cops.

The fair chase continues; the car turns towards the Pacific Ocean, and drives northward.

The breeze blew, the white car pursued,

The fuzz they followed free;

We were the first whose tire burst

In our efforts to flee.

Now stopped the car, the boot shot up,

Police car in the distance,

And my sisters demanded I

Change the tire with insistence.

All in a hot and azure sky,

The bloody Sun, at noon

With no relief from up above

I fixed the tire and soon.

Without delay, needless to say,

I climbed in a commotion

Into the car that had to start

And get back into motion.

And the flipping of the bird begins to be avenged.

Frenzy, frenzy, every where

And all the tires did sink,

Frenzy, frenzy, every where

Not any time to think.

The damn tires were stuck: Disaster!

That ever this should be!

The slimy cops did get closer

Than they should have been.

I swung the tires again, with force

My sisters full of fright

Or was it only their desire

To stop and spend the night?

A Squad had followed them ; some of the official inhabitants of this region, neither departed souls nor angels, but lawmen ; concerning whom the learned rappers, NWA, and the Conscientious Los Angelean, Raymond E. Foster, may be consulted. They are very numerous, and there is no city or county without one or more.

And now we began to move away

From the Squad that plagued us so;

Three cars deep they followed us

Through paths both high and low.

And my mind, through utter doubt,

Could see no other route;

I could not speak, and my sisters

Looked like they wanted to shoot--

The sisters, in their sore distress, throw the whole guilt on Amy: in sign whereof they silently remind her of her action.

Well -the evil looks that I took

From Helen and Rita

And to my near-silent dismay

Their smirks could be no sweeter.

Part III

There passed a tedious time.

Chased, boredom filled each eye.

A dull time! a dull time!

How tired each weary eye,

When looking ahead, I beheld

A something in the sky

The Mariner beholdeth a sign in the distance afar off.

At first it seemed a little blob

And then it seemed a blur;

It moved and moved, and took at last

Certain shape, I infer.

A friend, a mind, a voice, I wished!

And still it neared and neared:

Now as if to suddenly stop,

It skidded and slowed and veered.

At its nearer approach, it now seemeth to be a car; and at a dear ransom she freeth

her speech from the bonds of thirst.

With throats so tired, with dry lips baked,

We could nor laugh nor wail;

Through utter dullness all dumb we sat!

I touched my arm, tensed like a cat,

Rita cried, A sail! a sail!

A flash of joy;

With throats so tired, with dry lips baked,

Agape we heard her yell:

Gadzooks! seeing ship instead of car

Surely my sister gone too far

Like she was drunk as hell.

And annoyance follows. For can it be a car that comes onward with no intelligence?

See! see! (I cried) he drives onward!

The driver he waved;

Without motion, without commotion,

Could we by he be saved?

Not bloody likely.

The western sky was cast aflame

The day was almost done!

Upon the dim horizon

Rested the broad bright Sun;

When that driver drove suddenly

Between us and the Sun.

It seemeth her but an idiot.

And straight the car was flecked with bars,

Of wit there was no trace,

As if through a dungeon-grate he peered

With broad and vacant face.

And his gestures are seen as bars on the face of the setting Sun.

Alas! (thought I, and I thought aloud)

How fast he nears and nears!

Listen to how loudly he shouts,

The noise tortured my ears.

The Football-Coach and his mate, and no other within the vehicle.

And through those remarks his idiocy

Did peer, as through a grate.

And is that bimbo all his crew?

Is that a fool? and are there two?

How suitable they mate.

Their eyes were blue, both looked blankly,

Her locks were bright as a bolt:

His look was almost as vacant,

The hillbilly girl-in-tow was she,

And we were faced by dolts.

He and her have diced for the car's crew and she (the latter) winneth the ancient


The battered van alongside came,

And the twain stepped aside;

"They're city folk-is this a joke?"

Said she, and said it twice.

No twilight within the courts of the Sun.

The day dipped; the stars grew many:

They brought with them the dark;

With close-heard yell from so near;

Shot the hillbilly's bark.

At the rising of the moon.

I listened and looked straight forward

Fear at my heart with no ward,

My patience seemed to tire!

The looks were dim and thick the night,

They stood there without a light;

Their questions full of fire--

I wished to leave at pace

But did I dare return to face

Both my sisters ire?

One after the other did they glare

Too quick for a reply,

Each turned her face away to sleep,

And settled there to lie.

Both my elder sisters there lay,

(I heard both sigh and groan)

With heavy thump, lively lumps

They settled down to snore.

The snores did from their bodies flow,--

They fled into their sleep!

And both of them, they let me know

I had to face both creeps.

Part IV

Young Daria heareth of her Aunt's tale;

"I hear thee, my Aunt Amy!

I hope you did not fail,

The only thing worse could have been

If you had all set sail.

I wonder how you got out alive

From there and still stayed sane--'

'Fear not, fear not, my watchful niece

And just call me Amy.

But the Aunt assureth her niece of her mental health, and proceedeth to relate her

wily escape.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,

As if on a wide sea!

No-one to take pity on me

Stuck with the hillbillies.

She then criticiseth her sisters of the calm.

The many cops, so beautiful!

Seen in my sisters eye:

A thousand things still to be done

They were all left to I.

And envieth that they should sleep, and she remain in strife.

I looked upon the car's back seat,

And drew my eyes away;

I glanced again towards it,

And there my sisters lay.

I looked forward and tried to think;

Before any plan could rust,

A wicked whisper came, I had

To leave them in the dust.

I saw my foes, and kept them close,

Then I went on to say;

"Why do the sea and the sky look the same in your eye?"

They both were confused, I took the time

To hop in and drive away.

But the curse liveth on for her in the sound of ringing sirens.

I drove on,sweat melted from my limbs,

It seemed we had gone free:

But then the police came back for more

They were still chasing me.

The siren sounded loudly

The police they were nigh;

But more gruesome than even that

Is the sound of my sister's sighs!

Even as they slept I heard their desire,

And yet I can not lie.

In her loneliness and fixedness she yearneth towards the journeying Moon, and the

stars that still sojourn, yet still move onward ; and every where the blue sky

belongs to them, and is their appointed rest, and their native country and their own

natural homes, which they enter unannounced, they are certainly expected and yet

there is still quiet joy at their arrival.

The moving Moon travelled the sky,

And no where did it stay:

Softly it was moving onward,

To mark another day.

The police car beams lit the rear,

As bright as the sun;

But where the car's small shadow lay,

And this is some surprise to say,

The barrel of a gun.

By the light of the Beam she beholdeth the officers of the tenacious police.

Beyond the shadow of the car

I watched the pigs drive on:

They moved in ranks of shining white,

And when their sirens howled on, I

Wondered how far we'd gone.

Within the shadow of the beams

I saw their dull attire:

White, faded blue and velvet black,

They sped on to try and catch me,

I drove as if on fire.

Their beauty and their happiness.

She could not see it.

O angry police cars! no tongue

Their beauty might declare:

Save Rita's, gushing from her heart

Even as she lay unaware:

And yes Helen may have joined her

Even as she lay unaware:

The sirens begin to soften.

The police seemed to lose their power,

At the end of their rope,

And as I then drove on anew

I began to feel hope.

That moment I saw the state line

And felt free from order,

Between states we then crossed; we had

Escaped across the border.

Part V

To escape is a thrilling thing,

Beloved by all, or most!

The chase had gone on for hours

Now I could slow to see flowers,

Content I was not toast.

By good fortune of the local weather system, the Barksdales are refreshed with rain.

The dust that had lined the road,

So long it had remained,

It seemed that it would stay the same;

But no longer now it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,

I took the time to drink,

Suitably refreshed by cola,

I now had time to think.

I moved, and took in the scene:

Sisters had slept so far,

So I took out a hidden tape

And listened to Big Star.

She heareth familar sounds and seeth sights and commotions in the sky and the


And soon I heard a roaring sound;

It did not come from crowd;

The opening song shook the car

Twas just a little loud.

The rear speakers burst into life!

And the car ran into bumps,

Helen and Rita were thrown about,

And to and fro, and in and out,

With only a few lumps.

And the songs did rock more loudly,

And the road felt more like hedge;

And the rain continued to pour;

My nerves were on edge.

The thick black cloud was split by drops,

The wind blew at its side:

As if some infant child's scribble,

The lightning forked as if dribble,

The storm front it was wide.

The bodies of the sisters are inspired, and the car moves on.

The loud wind never stopped the car,

Our trip had to move on!

Between the bumps and the Star

My sisters gave a groan.

They groaned, they stared they soon uprose,

With one look on their faces,

And from that stern look I knew that

Of me they'd leave no traces.

Helen was the first to speak, she ranted,

She went on like a torrent;

My sisters then raised their complaints

Which they were wont to do;

The accusations numbered many

Thousands-at least a few.

Then tense sister Rita

Sat by me, knee to knee;

I tried to crack a decent joke,

But they said nought to me.

But not by relief for escaping the cops, nor by sympathy or forgiveness were they

motivated, but by sheer resentment for all that had befallen them.

'I hear thee, yes siblings can suck"

'Don't worry, kindred niece!

They did not hate me forever,

If they hide it they are clever,

They did not then, at least:

For when it dawned-that I had spawned,

Our lengthy car chase;

Seething sounds rose through their mouths,

With loud expletives laced.

Around, around, flew each sharp sound,

Directed to my ear;

And if words were followed by actions,

I did have much to fear.

Sometimes, between the loud outrages

I heard Alex Chilton sing;

Sometimes giving relief,

One thing for sure was that his voice

Was much less threatening.

And now it was like a punk band,

Drowning out a flute;

I wished that for at least a while,

They could be stricken mute.

And although they settled some, still

We drove on in bad mood,

Anger concealed like a cover,

Which did not quite stretch out,

And sometimes anger spread quietly

Is worse than a loud shout.

The mood did continue to stay,

While we stopped to sleep

And even when we reawoke

My sisters wished to reap.

Till noon we tensely drove on,

Without a peaceful moment:

The long journey went on further,

As if without event.

The sisters sit there tersely until the Noon, in obedience to the old convention of

taking a break between beratings, but still requireth vengeance.

Back on the seat not very deep

Sat Rita in quite a bad mood

Her hand slid: and it was she

That made the car to slow.

The horn at high noon left its tune,

And the car stood still also.

Rita, right near the gearstick,

Had fixed us to the spot:

But in a moment she 'gan stir,

With a short violent motion--

Her mind consumed by law's love lost

With a short violent motion.

Then like a fighter let go,

She made a sudden slap:

It came to me as no surprise,

But I lay as if thwacked.

And Rita's sister Helen, the other inhabitant of the vehicle, took part in her

wrong; and two of them relate, one to the other, that Amy still requireth penance

long and heavy for her deeds, before returning home.

How long in that same state I lay,

I don't exactly know;

But before I was truly awake,

I had already been placed

Into the car's back row.

'Serves her right' said one 'It was her

Who spoiled my chance to flirt,

With her rude finger she laid out,

The disrespectful squirt.

Amy who does bide by herself

In the world of obscure books,

She loved the bird that hated the man

While we liked his looks.'

The other was your mother's voice,

As firm as legal brief:

Said she, 'Rita! She had penance done,

And can't get no relief.'

Part VI

Part VI


'But tell me! You must be joking,
Your motivation pending--
Why should we turn back the trip now?
Why drive to its ending?'


'So far we have already driven,
We have gone far enough
And you surely must agree that
This trip has been quite rough.

And we don't know which way to go;
Just look where we now are.
See, sister, see! How hopelessly
We are lost beneath stars.'

Amy hath been feigning sleep; for her mental power feareth that she could be subject to more scorn than human life could endure.


'That may be so, but to turn back,
Would be what Amy wanted.'


We only just escaped the law,
And their looks I did dig,
But despite that attraction,
The police were still pigs.

And even if we had a chance
Of getting in to flirt
Are we so cruel to lack pity
For the sleeping squirt?

On hearing that her sister's hatred has been reconsidered; Amy awakes, and her penance begins anew. Or something.

I stopped the pretence of my sleep,
Amidst gentle weather:
A calm night; relations were improved
Now we could survive together.

We sat together in that car,
During that long long trip:
Although still fixed on me their eyes,
I was not called a drip.

The bird, the flip, with which lust died,
Its impact was utter:
And some hesitant apology
I did try to mutter.

This bird hath flown.

And now we were headed home;
I viewed the grass green,
And looked far out, yet barely saw
Of what had else been seen--

Like one on a crowded excursion
Doth walk in fear and dread,
There every dumb conversation
Weighs down like lead;
Because she knows, a frightful fool
Doth close behind her tread.

But soon I regained privacy,
And with it composure,
Submerged, it reemerged
While we neared closure.

It allowed me to resume subtle quips
As sisters praised Thompsons
While I reacquainted myself
With Faulkner and the Compsons.

Helen quickly drove the car,
Yet she drove softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly flowed the prose--
On me alone it blew.

And then Amy beholdeth her native county.

The sign beckoned, and yes indeed,
The old sights I now saw
There was the hill and there the golf,
All away from the law.

We drifted o'er the local bridge,
Helen let out a shout
Despite what my sisters may say,
I never did pass out.

The roadside was strewn with glass,
But smoothly it was strewn!
I could overlook such grime,
Glad to return in June.

The sun shone bright, our smiles no less,
We drove above the rock:
Although I was little aware
Their smiles were to mock.

The good spirits leave the sisters.

And the road was grey with white rays,
While rising from within,
Was the lasting bitterness from
Behind my sisters grins.

And bitterness appeared in their own remarks without light or subtlety.

A little distance from our home,
Rita sought out her range
I turned my mind upon her lines
But now, all had changed!

Each blow lay flat, lifeless and flat,
Even those meant to be rude,
With quips all sharp, and rejoinders,
I exposed them as crude.

My sisters band, each chanced her hand:
It was a familar sight!
Stood as signals of the normal
And their effect was light;

The sister-band, each chanced her hand,
No voice did they impart--
No voice; for them it really stank for
My silence had been smart.

For not halting after their earlier loud attempts at lambasting their sister, Helen and Rita became bereft of voice, and Amy did verily rejoice.

But soon I heard the sounds of town
And only I could cheer;
My head was perchance turned away
And I saw our home appear.

My neglected books and records,
I heard them coming fast:
And dear Daria! it was a joy
My sisters could not blast.

I saw a figure--I heard her voice:
It was indeed our mother!
Yes there still was the story to sing
But it was no bother,
She'd let me be, as she could hear
My story, and no other.

Part VII

The Barksdale brood lived in a house
Not too far from the sea.
How loudly our mother's voice did rear!
She loved to confront her daughters,
Most after a journey.

Well-heeled at morn, and noon, and eve--
She was just slightly plump:
Sat there on the moss that well hid
A newly created stump.

The car neared and I heard her call
'Why, this is strange, but how?
You said that you would be gone for
Weeks, why come back just now?'

She approacheth the car with wonder.

"Strange, I do say!' my mother said--
'They did not answer my cheer!
The sides look dented! and those windows,
The damage looks severe!
I never saw aught done to them,
Unless perchance it were

Shining white bolts of hail that fell
In some seasonable storm;
When the windscreen shows such decay,
And two daughters bear their dismay
While trying to look warm.

"Mother, don't mind our fiendish look--"
Helen tried to reply
(I read it on her lips)--'Do go on!"
I replied sarcastically.

At once we got out of the car,
Not a moment too soon;
Travel's rigors caught up with it,
And it threatened to kaboom.

The car suddenly falleth apart.

Yet the expired engine sputtered on,
Still louder to my head:
It reached the house, it seared our ears;
It fell apart as if dead.

Amy's reputation is saved upon her return.

Struck by that foul and steady smell
The car our trip had smote,
Like one that hath been seven days grounded
My body yearned for the remote.
But soon enough, I found myself
Safe from my sisters' gloat.

Upon the road, where stank the tar,
The spare parts extended far;
And all was still, safe to say we
Had destroyed the car.

I moved my lips-Rita tried
To stop me and failed;
Our mother rolled her eyes, Rita
Looked like she had been jailed.

I told the tale: and Helen,
Who now doth crazy go,
Worried quick and long, and all this time
Her mind went to and fro.
'But! but!' wrote she, 'full plain I see
Injustice now, no!"

And now, all in our own house,
I stood near the soft couch!
And while I stood up and regaled,
Sisters could barely crouch.

The now becalmed Amy earnestly entreateth their mother to absolve her; and the responsibility falls away from her, and onto her silent sisters.

"And that is how it really happened.'
Our mother dropped her brow.
'Tell me quick' said she, 'You speak truth--
How did you remain calm now?'

Forthwith this frame of mind was how
The trip affected me,
And for all that I went through
At least I ended free.

And whenever boredom beckons throughout her future life, inclineth her to pull out this true tale.

Since then, in uncertain times,
I think back to that day:
And know that no matter the place,
I still have something to say.

I pass like night, in these situations;
I look for those of my kind;
And as soon as I heard sarcasm,
I knew you'd rather be in a chasm;
To help, my tale I unwind.

What loud noise must sound from that room!
The wedding-guests are there:
But in the foyer your mother
And Rita sit drinking:
And hark that we had moved away
To flee their drunken stare!

O Daria! In one trip I felt
Alone in a speeding car:
Chased down by pigs, faced with hicks,
The journey it was far.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast
'Truly sweeter to me,
To talk together in the alley
With such good company!

To both be stuck in a wedding,
And then to get away,
While there disasters do build
The product of that dull guild,
It's almost made my day!

And to teach, by her own example, to be true to thine own self, and show irreverence to those things that deserveth.

Its time to 'scray but this I say
To you, my cynic niece!
She stayeth well, who thinketh well
When needed be at least.

She stayeth well, who thinketh well
In problems both great and small;
For no matter how bad things may be
We can make mirth of all.'

Amy Barksdale, whose mind is bright,
Whose voice has told her tale,
Has left for now: and Daria
Travels back to Lawndale.

She had went like one expectant
That she would be drained.
But to her quite pleasant surprise,
She had been entertained.