Shooting an Albatross

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Charles Baudelaire 's collection of poems Les Fleurs du mal contains a poem entitled L'Albatros about men on ships who catch the albatrosses for sport.

Albatross (metaphor)

In the final stanza, he goes on to compare the poets to the birds — exiled from the skies and then weighed down by their giant wings, till death. Finally, in Herman Melville 's Moby-Dick , there is a reference to Coleridge's albatross [2] which is extended to fit the narrative's focus on the symbolic connotations of whiteness [ citation needed ]. See The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in popular culture.


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Lawrence refers to Coleridge's poem by only saying And I thought of the albatross in his poem Snake. In music journalism, the term albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to describe the mixed blessing and curse of a song that becomes so popular it overshadows the rest of the artist's work.

Although only 40 seconds long this sketch is amongst one of the most memorable and remembered. In it a man, played by John Cleese, is dressed as an ice-cream girl in a film theatre, although instead of the regular movie snacks she is selling a dead albatross. A man Terry Jones approaches her and asks for two choc ices. The girl aggressively makes clear she only sells an albatross and continues shouting to draw attention to her merchandise, while the potential customer keeps asking questions about the product, like "What flavour is it?

Finally the man buys two albatrosses for nine pence each.


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  • The salesgirl then shouts she is selling "gannet on a stick. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Look up albatross around one's neck in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. This article may contain indiscriminate , excessive , or irrelevant examples. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing less pertinent examples. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for further suggestions.

    February The Phrase Finder. Retrieved 27 December The poem presents us with a problem: when we do something bad and feel terrible about it, how can we, in the end, accept ourselves once again?

    And I had done a hellish thing. There will always be elbows on the table, an unbrushed dog, experimental string pulleys or something crisscrossing the dining room at neck-level.

    The Cosbys are, realistically, the right kind of family. I want my family to feel happy and loved and cared for. People shoot the albatross in different ways. Or we are horrified about our drinking, our marriage, our self-indulgence, our children, our house, or a serious misjudgment or injustice or unkindness or betrayal.

    The mariner faced his failure all too thoroughly. By the third stanza the dead albatross literally hung around his neck, and he is.

    Symbol Analysis

    Indeed, we are quite capable of subjecting our own souls to agony. Guilt can do that, and probably should. But not forever. We expect more of ourselves, I think, than we should, and that makes our albatrosses heavier, the agonies of the soul greater, the heart drier and dustier, the wicked whispers louder. Right off the bat I can think of three expectations for life that nearly all of us have and almost none of us can attain. First, for example, we expect our inner conflicts to resolve themselves eventually.

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    I believe that it is more realistic to strive simply for relative peace amidst the various aspects of ourselves than it is to expect a static, complete, mental and emotional solution to a complex human dilemma. Reconciliation is an on-going process; there is not perfect tranquility.

    We go over it and over it, the pros and cons of finally putting Dad in a nursing home, or of arranging to work more closely with the very attractive person in the office down the hall, or of giving our tax refund to the family Disney World fund instead of to the Friends of the UUA. The fact is, as you will remember, in most cases there are many ways to do things, and no choice is altogether right or wrong. A third way of lightening that albatross load — again, obvious — is to jettison the notion that we ought to be able to cope with it all.

    Some problems will never be resolved.

    Shooting the Albatross - Quest for Meaning

    Some will never go away. A mother may always wonder about the baby she relinquished to adoptive parents. A retired man may always wonder if he handled that difficult Saturday night back in high school in the best way. That pest of a nephew may hang around for the rest of your natural life. We left the mariner in despair. How does he snap out of it? It may seem odd, but he begins to watch the water-snakes.

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    O happy living things! No tongue their beauty might declare. The mariner was smart to embrace the world around him. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

    I think the mariner, Einstein, and the UUA are on to something. Within the universe we do have bonds; life to life, creature to creature, person to person. To finally accept ourselves as a part of life on this planet, none of it perfect; to feel a common sympathy for ourselves as part of the human condition; and to accept it all, finally, and be free. All vows, all promises we have made to ourselves, all commitments to unswerving thought, opinion and behavior are now cancelled, nullified and made as naught.

    Now we are free to cling no more to convictions based on inner vows or laziness or apathy; for now all vows, all promises we have made to ourselves, all commitments to unswerving opinion, behavior or thought are now cancelled, nullified and made as naught. The message I share with you today is a gentle, reassuring one.

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    Spirit of Life When all is quiet and we are small And the night is dark, May we hear the tender breathing of all who lie awake with us. That together we may gather strength to live with love, and kindness and confidence. For remaining silent, when a single voice would have made a difference, We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

    For each time that our fears have made us rigid and inaccessible, We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love. For each time our greed has blinded us to the needs of others We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love. For the selfishness that sets us apart and alone, We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

    For falling short of the admonitions of the spirit, We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love. For these and for so many acts, both evident and subtle, which have fueled the illusion of separateness, We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love. The place to begin is here. The time to begin is now. I unwrap the layers of my public self And settle in the calm.

    Awake, my song and sing to me of treasured times in memory of healthy hopes: the world made one a restful sleep when day is done of broken hearts mended of long grudges ended the lonely befriended And let it begin with me. As a Unitarian Universalist congregation with no geographical boundary, the CLF creates global spiritual community, rooted in profound love, which cultivates wonder, imagination, and the courage to act.

    Twitter Youtube Facebook Rss Mail. Shooting the Albatross June 14, 14 Jun Hymn No. Jane Rzepka The way I hear the poem, this guy shoots a bird.

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