The Making of the Dome

Of the Making of the Dome
March 25th, 2015

The pleasure dome of Samuel Coleridge’s Fragment has always had such an appeal on my mind. This world within a world, yet outside of it and outside of its rules, and for me, the rules of growth and change. The fact that Coleridge’s Vision in a Dream was only partial further appealed to me and gave the urge to complete it. In 2000 or 2001, I do not recall which, I took a creative writing course in which I was required to write a short story. At the time I was a major fan of the Canadian rock band RUSH, and thought their personal take on the story (Xanadu) was intriguing.

  • The Dome as Prison

An immortal, imprisoned in the perfection of the dome. What contradiction! I decided then that I would make my own attempt at finishing the story, though, admittedly, my own is itself incomplete. There is the beginnings of a fragment, for The Seeker of Xanadu. What was new about my own story was that this was Kubla Khan himself, trapped in a prison of his own design, rather than what RUSH described as someone else. It was also my intention that he should have the opportunity to escape from the perpetually perfect (and therefore stagnant) dome. Would he take that opportunity? Would anyone, in similar circumstances?

In some cases I borrow and modify from RUSH, while they in turn modify Coleridge. For instance, Kubla Khan ends:

For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

The RUSH song changes this to the first person, though gives clear indication that this person is not Kubla Khan himself, but some later explorer:

For I have dined on honeydew,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

My own rendition was in this first person perspective, but it is slightly altered and comes in conjunction with an iniquitous version of Christ’s “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

  • The Dome Theme

The theme of the dome itself has maintained throughout a number of other stories in the anthology, perfect worlds and attempts at perfect worlds. There is an overarching theme of what is perfect, what is perfecting, and what is perfectable.

The entire poem, Of The Making Of The Dome, as a back story, is a tale of the sinister origins of the vainglorious attempt to build a heavenly paradise for the sake of love, but in the end becomes the object of love. Again I modify this final refrain. The price of building the dome would darken Kubla Khan’s soul.

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