Dear Samuel (Can I Call You Sam?)

National Poetry Month Letters to Poets Series

Amy Jasek
2 min readApr 2, 2023


Medium format film image by author

Where in Xanadu,
tormented soul,
could you
now be found whole?
With all of life’s blue
problems washed away,
in white robes
whose hopes
blossomed like a new day
from the shore
waving. Bowl
upon golden
bowl takes its toll.
So shipwrecked,
the serpent’s chase;
his hiss, amiss,
his bite, so sweet, replaced.

In the rain and sun
walking, thinking
heart unblinking
swayed by emotion
I would walk with you
your discourse
a source
for modern poet’s news.
But the past
cannot last
for sinking
under the weight
of time’s marching.
Sailor’s gait,
harken to me:
my woe is so
it rolls upon the sea.

Friend of legends and of passions, tell me:
how would that poem have ended in your dreams?
How did Christabel spell calamity
for you, man of tender means, so you seemed,
or so history reports. What we glean
is genius interrupted, polluted
by addiction, a life gone up in steam,
rich and wild as a journey in the flood
of life’s bounty. Stricken as a dove
hunted for its lucky love.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wasn’t originally on my list of poets to write “letters” to. As I drove my daughter home from school and the words about the project came out of my mouth, however, I realized I would have to add him: not only did he belong on the list, but also my daughter has told me so much about him from her own research that I feel like he’s a member of the family. So, here he is.

Complicated, passionate, brilliant, train wreck of a gloriously imperfect human, this guy is one of our favorites. May history be kinder to him than it was at first; may it be kind to all of us.

Thanks for reading!