The Lungs are the organ of the body that breathes in air that gushes through the body like a ship at full sail against the wind. The lungs are vessels like ships, afloat, watertight and mighty as they power through great oceans. When imagining sailing a ship, the first thought that comes to mind is the feeling of breathing in the expansive ocean air as it rushes past your face, almost unfathomable. It creates the sense of freedom. The text of the piece Lungs adapts The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge about a mariner’s ship and crew as it is swept off course in the Great Pacific Ocean.
The ship is heading south but becomes lost as a gale throws the ship in the direction of Antarctica – cold as ice and deadly. It is based upon the second voyage of James Cook to the great southern land. Lungs is a metaphysical journey about breathing at sea as the air changes from warm to cold and eventually to freezing.
Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.