Many argue that this is actually a poem about artistic creation, and that the creation of the "pleasure dome" is a thinly-veiled allegory of the creation of art and poetry itself. Note how the poem ends on this note as the speaker hears the music of the Abyssinian maid and feels that if he could recreate her music, he could rebuild the pleasure dome in Xanadu, which would in turn provoke reactions of awe and fear in the people:
That with music loud an long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Let us not forget that the poem itself has been created out of air, with words, to present us with extremely vivid images and a new manner of approaching the work of the imagination and creativity. Just as Kubla Khan "decreed" the existence of the "stately pleasure-dome," so the words of the poet have created this art form, and at the end of the poem, this theme of artistic creation is referred to, as the poet succeeds in his desire of recreating the pleasure dome through his words.