In this clip, Mal tells a stunned Inara that “Yes, I’ve read a poem…” So I thought, “Why not show people this poem?
The poem is called “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772 – 1834)
And this poem is long, so I’m just going to give you a selection.
You can find the full thing here: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/rime-ancient-mariner
... The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, Merrily did we drop Below the kirk, below the hill, Below the lighthouse top. The sun came up upon the left, Out of the sea came he! And he shone bright, and on the right Went down into the sea. Higher and higher every day, Till over the mast at noon--" ... “And now the storm-blast came, and he Was tyrannous and strong; He struck with his o’ertaking wings, And chased us south along. With sloping masts and dipping prow, As who pursued with yell and blow Still treads the shadow of his foe, And forward bends his head, The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast, And southward aye we fled. Listen, stranger! Mist and snow, And it grew wondrous cold: And ice mast-high came floating by, As green as emerald. And through the drifts the snowy clifts Did send a dismal sheen: Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken-- The ice was all between. The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around: It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, Like noises in a swound! At length did cross an albatross, Thorough the fog it came; As if it had been a Christian soul, We hailed it in God’s name. It ate the food it ne’er had eat, And round and round it flew. The ice did split with a thunder-fit; The helmsman steered us through! And a good south wind sprung up behind; The albatross did follow, And every day, for food or play, Came to the mariners’ hollo! In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud, It perched for vespers nine; Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white, Glimmered the white moon-shine.” “God save thee, ancient mariner! From the fiends, that plague thee thus!-- Why lookst thou so?” “With my crossbow I shot the albatross.
The sun now rose upon the right: Out of the sea came he, Still hid in mist, and on the left Went down into the sea. And the good south wind still blew behind, But no sweet bird did follow, Nor any day for food or play Came to the mariners’ hollo! And I had done an hellish thing, And it would work ‘em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird That made the breeze to blow. Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay, That made the breeze to blow! ... And some in dreams assured were Of the spirit that plagued us so; Nine fathom deep he had followed us From the land of mist and snow. And every tongue, through utter drought, Was withered at the root; We could not speak, no more than if We had been choked with soot. Ah! wel-a-day! what evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung.