9 January 2017 – Maggots and Death

It hasn’t been the most poetic of days. As I prepared to do the vacuum, I found a plastic bag full of half-decomposed sushi left by my flatmate and his friends over Christmas. To spare you the gory details, I’m going to be having maggoty dreams for months.

Speaking of death and maggots, I thought I would share you another favourite poem of mine by the master of the gruesome, Edgar Allen Poe. When I was a teenager, I fell in love with The Raven. It’s heptametre beat had me absolutely enamoured and I dreamed of being able to memorise every verse. I never got it all, but enough to sometimes crack out at parties. I’ve added it to my useless tricks. Including dancing the Charlston.

The Raven is by far his most famous work. Partly because it once starred in a Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror. For something a bit different, he’s a link to the episode (read by James Earl Jones).

However, this isn’t my favourite of his anymore. As well as being a master of horror, Poe was also gifted at writing about loss, fulfilling the age old adage “write what you know.” This poem is about two lovers unable to unite, and the eventual death of the muse, Annabel Lee.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABELL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
       In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
       Went envying her and me –
Yes! – that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we –
Of many far wiser than we –
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE,
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling – my darling – my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

(Edgar Allen Poe)