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Module 1: Coleridge Frost at Midnight

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Movement and thought

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XSIQ
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English - Movement and thought

Movement and thought

Apart from the systolic rhythm, another pattern of the Conversation poems
is the way that a seemingly fleeting thought will trigger off the next
movement of the poet's mind towards some related issue. Thus the complete
clause combination of the previous lines is:

'Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, everywhere
Echo or mirror seeking of itself
AND MAKES A TOY OF THOUGHT' (ll.20-23).

The notion of the play of thought triggers a childhood memory (a time of
using literal toys). The memory triggered is of a similar incident in
childhood when he was staring at another such film on a fire grate while
away at school. This time the film is reported as having been visible
against BARS (l.25) - a prison-like image. This prison image is continued
in the later description of the city itself (THE GREAT CITY, PENT/ l.52)
when Coleridge recalls his schoolboy self away from home daydreaming (a
dream-within-dream) of his birthplace.

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