The poem is different in style and form from other poems composed by Coleridge. While incomplete and subtitled a "fragment", its language is highly stylised with a strong emphasis on sound devices that change between the poem's original two stanzas . The first stanza of the poem describes Khan's pleasure dome built alongside a sacred river fed by a powerful fountain. The second stanza of the poem is the narrator's response to the power and effects of an Abyssinian maid's song, which enraptures him but leaves him unable to act on her inspiration unless he could hear her once again. Together, they form a comparison of creative power that does not work with nature and creative power that is harmonious with nature.