No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
Was Edgar Allen Poe life as unconventional as his poetry and writing or has time allowed for Poe to be re-imagined in his own words? Poe’s life certainly would not fit into the conventions of today. He married his first cousin when she was 13 and he was 27. I think we would call that a pedophile today, not an eligible bachelor. She died eleven years later from tuberculosis. Poe died only two years after following her death under somewhat murky circumstances. In 1849, Poe went missing for five days and was found incoherent and delirious. He was taken to a Baltimore hospital where he died soon after at the age of 40. Typical of the time, No autopsy was performed and the cause of death was listed as a vague “congestion of the brain” and he was buried two days later. This rather unusual description opened the door for crack pots and scholars, (or are those the same thing?) to propose everything from murder, to carbon monoxide poisoning as the reason for his death. It doesn’t really matter, dead is dead. Poe doesn’t get enough credit for the quality of his writing and the varied contributions he made to literature. Poe grew up in desperate poverty and he wrote in true fashion as his vocation and made a living at it. I think he deserves more credit than he sometimes receives as a poet and writer.
by Edgar Allan Poe
It is not death, that some time in a sigh
This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight;
That some time the live stars, which now reply
In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night;
That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite,
And all life’s ruddy springs forget to flow; —
That verse shall cease, and the immortal spright
Be lapp’d in alien clay, and laid below: —
It is not death to know this, but to know
That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves,
In tender pilgrimage will cease to go
So duly and so oft, and when grass waves
Over the past-away, there may be then
No resurrections in the minds of men!
When Bob Irsay, under cover of darkness, surreptitiously moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in 1984, holding a press conference the next day to announce his successful blackmailing the city of Indianapolis into building him the ugliest foot ball stadium behind the Metrodome in Minneapolis, on which the design was based, no one would have predicted that Art Modell would follow the same playbook in 1996 and move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and rename them the Baltimore Ravens, after Baltimore’s literary hometown hero – Edgar Allan Poe. If you don’t follow the intricacies of professional sports, the NFL team the Baltimore Ravens is the only professional sports team in North America named for a short story written by a 19th century poet.
How does that have anything to do with these poems? Absolutely nothing, other than I wonder how Edgar Allan Poe would feel about it? Would he have a box seat at the 50 yard line? Would he be on ESPN giving color commentary? Would he have a regular column in the Baltimore Sun?
It is a fun thing to consider, what if in each league, a sports team had to be renamed for a poet? Would the Golden State Warriors be renamed the Rainbow Warriors in honor of Allen Ginsburg? Would the Minnesota Twins be renamed the Minnesota Twains in honor of Mark Twain and Minnesota being the birth place of the Mississippi? Would the Boston Bruins in the NHL be renamed the Boston Frost after Robert Frost?
I applaud Modell for embracing literature in renaming his franchise. I think every league should require one team to be named for a writer. It might inspire more girls and boys, not just with brawn and athletic ability, but the power to influence through words.
by Edgar Allan Poe
There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave — under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush’d — no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke — over the idle ground
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox, or wild hyena, calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
By T. A. Fry
Crooked handle, points of light, Ladle full of black delight, Obscured from sight or burning bright, The dipper points due north.
It’s infinite, a soup of dreams. Laughter broth with tiger cream, Pig-tailed girls, little boys lean Who dare to venture forth.
What of those who turn away? Or hunker down and choose to stay. Who hate the night, embrace the day, And face the sunshine south.
Restraint is in the milky way, River of light, come what may. For roosters crow and donkeys bray With a smiling mouth.
Then there’s those that love the moon. It’s gentle light, a babies croon, A swooping owl, a laughing loon, Peace rises in the east.
The moon it waxes and it wanes, Outside our doors and window panes. Old or young, it’s all the same. The grateful at a feast.
Adventurers and nestled stones, Withered muscle, sturdy bone, A crowded dance or home alone, Our lonely sun sails west.
The sun it rises and it sets, The miser saves, the gambler bets A desert’s dry, an ocean’s wet, Your love my welcome guest.