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Imagery can be extremely powerful when used by a gifted poet. Potent (powerful) imagery can be used to draw a vivid image in the reader’s mind and get all sorts of great emotional responses from the reader. It helps the reader immerse themself in the poem and forget that they are merely reading words on a page. Take, for instance, the following extract from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (that’s another thing to remember: sometimes older poems are written with old English spelling). This part of the poem describes the miserable plight (hopeless situation) of a bunch of sailors in the middle of the ocean:

Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.


The very deep did rot: O Christ!

That ever this should be!

Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs

Upon the slimy sea.


About, about, in reel and rout

The death-fires danced at night;

The water, like a witch’s oils,

Burnt green, and blue and white.

It paints a pretty good picture of water as far as the eye can see, infested with horrible slimy creatures that crawl about during the day and that burns in spectacular, and in this context horrifying, colours at night.