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(From Guardian Unlimited)
James Elroy Flecker begins his poem, "The Old Ships", in the buttonholing style of the Ancient Mariner : "I have seen old ships ' " During his consular travels in Greece and the Middle East, Flecker certainly would have seen, and probably sailed on, old ships. But he is no more interested than Coleridge in evoking an ordinary ship's smells and sounds and character. The poem's very realism is dream-like. Its intensely dark and bright colours are those of the Mediterranean, enriched by a classics-steeped, proto-Imagist imagination. Imagination is the country from which Flecker is reporting.
The pace is "drowsy" from the outset, with those …