“Water, water everywhere, and oh the boards did shrink.
Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink”
…It’s a line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We read it in school and I’ve always loved it. I’ve been ruminating on it lately. In the poem, the ship has wandered off course and has wound up in Arctic waters. To make matters even worse the Mariner then shoots an Albatross which brings a curse onto the vessel.
It’s a great poem, and there’s a lot about the poem that I love, but I’m just focusing on this line for now. Where the crew is dying, their rations are almost gone, and there is no water. They are desperate and it’s made worse by the fact that they are literally surrounded by water. The ocean! Seeing it makes the thirst worse but you can’t drink it. Infertility feels like this often. I am literally surrounded by a sea of pregnancies and babies but I am unable to have my own. It makes the yearning, or thirst, so much stronger and harder to ignore. Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.