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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Poetry indulgence - Edgar Allen Poe

It is Wednesday why not a Little Poetry Indulgence?
Hanging out on my morning break yesterday, I had a good time RE- reading this poem. (The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe). I did some online research on the great work ( book rags) and really spent a few moments "in" this poem. I got some deeper meanings out of it this time around. Which seem to be the case for what I read at 17, 31, or now 40 something. I enjoyed it more than EVER. If anyone is has a few minutes...this is a great read. (I am sure most everyone is familiar with it... ) Why not pass it along for a quick indulgence to family and friends.

I was just thinking of days of old.... no tv, no cds, dvds, electronic games, email, computers, blogs.... nothing to do.. at night people would enjoy a reading. Can you imagine that in your life? I so wish I had that in my life. I mean I enjoy reading.. but I think it would be so cool to do this nightly with family. I am smiling (hooting actually) because I am trying to get a mental picture of me saying after dinner to the hubby, "let's enjoy a reading from Poe tonight."

Post your comments on what you think your family or friends would do if you announce after dinner that you wanted to share a spot of poetry with them. Would love to hear comments on this.

I heard from an online friend yesterday that her daughters and her learned this poem by heart and would recite it. I was very very touched by this family event. What a lovely memory they share in the event.

Yesterday her memory reminded me of my own memory. Five or so years ago in an English class I had to memorize a poem. I was attempting to memorize The Highwayman. I had great support from my kids. They were picking it up quite well. For whatever reason, I ended up doing something else and not using that poem. Even today I can mention the poem and get my 23 year old son to recall the memory and some of the lines.

So here is the poem.

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door �
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; � vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow � sorrow for the lost Lenore �
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore �
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me � filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door �
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; �
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"� here I opened wide the door; �
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" �
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore �
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; �
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door �
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door �
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore �
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning� little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door �
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered� not a feather then he fluttered �
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before �
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore �
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never � nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore �
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite � respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! � prophet still, if bird or devil! �
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted �
On this home by horror haunted� tell me truly, I implore �
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? � tell me � tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting �
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!� quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted � nevermore!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting at J. Kaye's Book Blog! I am finding so many cool blogs thanks to Book Blogs. :)

Toni said...

Hello there ... I am finding so many new blogs also. It is so great to hook up with so many passionate readers and writers!! :) Thanks for the comment!

Red lady-Bonnie said...


I haven't read much of Poe's work but we have a vintage collection of his works that my son and husband enjoy reading together.
My son loves vintage books and to see how old they are and where they come from. I am a fan of Emily Dickenson.

I like your idea of spending more time reading at night. We try to do that as a family and they are special times. We need to do it more often!

Toni said...

Hi Bonnie.. keep up that good habit.. I used to do it when the kids were younger... but.. not now.

Emily Dickenson is one I like also. Maybe not "fan" status yet. I liked to discuss her works in class. I am not super "in the know" when I comes to her works, but when we would discuss her stuff it would come to life and I enjoyed it.

I also like to discuss the authors, and poets of old. It is always a feast to examine their pasts, their lifestyle, and history.

I recently read that The Raven was sold for nine dollars... Imagine that?

Have a good reading week and thank you for the blog post!