Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April is Poetry Month (April 5, 2016)

In continuing the Poetry Month Celebration, hosted by Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice, I am going to offer an original poem, but there’s a bit of a backstory.
I’ve always like Edgar Allan Poe, but I like his macabre short stories more than his poetry. However, I’ve always been fascinated with The Raven, and its unique pattern and meter. But it’s rather a depressing poem, so once upon a daybreak brilliant, I decided to flatter the old poet, with an imitation – imitating his pattern, meter, and number of stanzas but with a more hopeful message. Note: there is a subtle allusion to Poe’s poem in stanza 10.

The Lovebird
J.E. Fountain

Once upon a day break brilliant, when my soul was still resilient,
To the fates and follies of my life and what it held in store,
That I idled haply reading, signs and seasons all unheeding,
As the night was fast receding, came soft knocking on my door.
‘Who will this be' I wondered, ‘so early knocking on my door?’
Earlier than I'd known before.

Vaguely through the mist and motion, of my memory’s stormy ocean,
I recall with clearer notion how day dawned upon my shore.
For I’d slept and sweetly slumbered, with my conscience unencumbered
And so many joys unnumbered, for love of one that I adore.
Radiant beauty, heaven ordained, mine alone on earth to adore.
I scarce could e’er hope for more.

When the silence interrupted, and my solitude corrupted,
By the sound of slightest knocking that I've mentioned heretofore.
‘Twas the eve of fair midsummer, I resolve to meet this comer
Ready, steady like a drummer, they keep knocking on my door.
Leaving me still to wonder who could be knocking on my door
Or if they’d come e’er before.

Curious now with nothing fearing, but some weary soul appearing,
Comes seeking respite, yes it was this and likely nothing more.
‘Wait' said I, ‘I am succumbing; you may now desist your drumming
Rest ye now for I am coming, to fair greet you at my door.
Be at ease, enter, join me’ said as I opened wide my door
Sunlight there and nothing more.

Long into the sunlight squinting, as my mind was gently hinting,
Golden rays came glancing, glinting, dancing bright upon my floor.
Nothing there, I was mistaken, blinking dumbly I awaken,
From idle dreams I’m shaken, and thoughts of one that I adore.
Charming word I smiled and whispered to the nothing there ‘adore’
Only this and nothing more.

Turning to my previous pleasure, tending to resume my leisure,
Once again I heard the measure of the drumming as before.
What can be this source of knocking, all my intellect it’s mocking
‘Tis nothing at all shocking, I simply renew my explore.
If not at my doorstep, there are other portals to explore
Than those I'd searched before.

From my window comes the clatter, I resolve to test the matter,
And at last the mystery shatter, of what seemed once at my door.
Could it be I mused and muddled, just a little bit befuddled
Some lost soul is huddled, at my window and not my door?
I hear ‘tis most clearly coming from my window not my door
‘Tis but this and nothing more.

Sitting there a rapturous songbird, likely all the noise that I heard,
Was his flit and flutter lighting on my pane and nothing more.
Thinking he would soon be winging, I’d regret to miss his singing,
And the simple joy that bringing, but he sat to look me o’er.
Curious that such a creature would be content to look me o’er
Unlike any known before.

And for reasons beyond reason, save perhaps the Orphic season,
I asked the winged visitor his name, indeed I did implore.
Expecting no satisfaction, nor any hope of interaction,
I quite reeled at his reaction, when he stated ‘Evermore.’
Extraordinary name for bird or beast was this Evermore
Now I must my wits restore.

Stoic sat he quite contented as my faculties invented
Some reason for this visitor and the message that he bore.
Whence to me comes this chimera, from some long forgotten era,
Or some mystic high sierra, where such birds are lost in lore?
I recalled a winged omen in volume of forgotten lore
‘Twas but legend nothing more.

Still it was so clearly spoken, could it not be some small token,
From the fates to guide and show me what my life still held in store?
Or held it no greater meaning, no cosmic force intervening,
Only circumstance convening, thoughts upon my mind galore?
Wild and fanciful illusions racing through my mind galore
Now I pray my wits restore.

Still he seemed so true and forthright, speaking plain at dawn’s first fair light,
That I deemed it would not do to doubt his mission anymore.
Rendered with such perfect diction, and expressed with pure conviction
I could not believe it fiction, but some message that he bore.
No doubt remained it was some prophetic message that he bore
I must ask him now for more.

Ah to but divine the meaning, all my consciousness was screening,
To discern the mystic message that had struck me to my core.
What indeed could be implicit, by this single word explicit,
Uttered by this fowl complicit, was the matter to explore.
Fearing all would evade me if I did not at once explore
Again he spoke ‘Evermore.’

Then, I thought the air grew lighter, and the day seemed dawning brighter,
As Shekinah beams descended from the heights where angels soar.
Blessed be this bird and sender and the message they did render,
Of the love I held so tender for the one I do adore.
‘Will love return to me from the only one I do adore?’
Quoth the songbird, ‘Evermore.’

‘Herald!’ said I, ‘vow of pleasure, whose one word I'll ever treasure,
Are you sent to grant love of the only one that I adore?
Messenger of favor bless me, does the grace of God caress me
For no word will e’er distress me, only this do I implore
How long can true love last? I pray thee, again do I implore!’
Quoth the songbird ‘Evermore.’

‘Herald!’ said I ‘vow of pleasure, whose one word I'll ever treasure,
For joy without measure, you have promised this and so much more.
Nothing in you seems unruly, and I deem you tell it truly,
And you are appointed duly, to tell of one I adore.
Once more tell how long shall love endure with the one I adore?’
Quoth the lovebird ‘Evermore.’

‘Be that word our sign of greeting, if again our ways find meeting,
Should you e’er again return to take your rest upon my shore.’
Then he flew and left no token save the promise he had spoken
That my love should be unbroken all of time and evermore.
I shall ever bless the day I first heard him speak Evermore
Only this and nothing more.

As he flew so fly the seasons, leaving me no rhymes or reasons,
For his visitation and the glorious message that he bore.
Save sweet words to e’er remind me, that true love that once did find me,
Would with cords forever bind me, to the soul that I adore.
Blessed to share a joyful life with the true love that I adore.
Love abides forevermore!

© 2015 Joseph E. Fountain

And should you care to compare, the following is the original. A pretty decent effort.

The Raven
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 mortal 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 marvelled 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 blessed 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 farther 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 fancy 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 lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls 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 of 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 lamp-light 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!


  1. I am heartily impressed! Internal rhyme schemes are so much work, and you got the meter too -- this was such good fun to read! Nailed it.

  2. WOW! THAT WAS IMPRESSIVE!!!!! I loved your rendition. Too bad Poe cannot receive your message.

  3. This is a very clever use of Poe's meter for a completely different message! I really enjoyed it, thank you.


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