Friday, October 28, 2011

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,
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
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
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
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 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
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
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 me thought 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
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
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,
"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
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
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Lake by Edgar Allan Poe

In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less -
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody -
Then - ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight -
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define -
Nor Love- although the Love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining -
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Sophie Stories

This post is another Sophie, my cat, story. She turned one - year - old in August, she's no longer a kitten so when she's naughty it's no longer as "cute" as it once was. I've had cats in my life for 50 years, but never one as "challenging" as Sophie. She is very smart, understands a lot of commands and better than most cats, she actually obeys  me - some of the time. She loves to climb everywhere. If she's awake, she's climbing. She is also the clumsiest cat I have ever shared my home with. She will climb up on top of the kitchen cabinets over the refrigerator and frequently curl up in one of my baskets. Occasionally she will get the basket rocking around and several times has come flying off the edge of the cupboard crashing to the kitchen floor. So I've had to pack away my beautiful baskets. Or she loves to walk around on top of the stair railing like a tightrope - but without the gracefulness or balance of most cats. And yes she has fallen from there too. I'm not sure how many of her 9 lives she has exhausted, but I know she has stressed me out many times.

 Her most challenging behavior is her absolute obsession with knocking things down from shelves, tables, wherever anything is set down even for a minute. I used to have a pleasant, enjoyable art studio downstairs with all my bits and baubles for art making displayed in a multitude of clear mason jars on shelves. Then as she grew, while relaxing upstairs I would suddenly be startled by huge crashes downstairs. Time after time I would venture down there to find a jar (or what was once a jar) exploded on the floor with beads or little glass tiles and broken mason jars spread all over the floor. After six glass jars were destroyed, I had to pack everything up in order to preserve my treasures. So subsequently there wouldn't be any more inspiration coming from seeing all the pretty colors and baubles in the clear glass jars. Even though all of my favorite things are packed away, Sophie will still find something to knock down every day. She will often push things with her nose to the top of the stairs and joyously give it the last nudge to savor watching whatever it is noisily bounce down the stairs.

That brings me to her playing fetch. Like the retrievers I grew up with I have always taught my cats to fetch. Usually it was a piece of crinkly paper, but Sophie has enjoyed the game so immensely that we have refined the catch to using the nylon balls meant for playing in swimming pools. We graduated to those balls because they are so lightweight yet can be quite large for her little mouth. She discovered she could sink her teeth into them and carry them all over the house until she finds the most intriguing, difficult place to drop it and challenge herself to dig it out again. Her most favorite thing is for me to throw them down the stairs so she can run and retrieve it, bring it back and drop it at my feet. Often if I get up from bed during the night, I'll find her sitting at my bedroom door with her ball ready to play. These are just some of the quirky, sometimes entertaining, often nerve rattling, and always endearing feats she provides for me on a daily basis. I'm just grateful she hasn't injured herself yet. Or me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

From the Genius of Dr. Seuss

"I know, 
up on top
you are seeing great sights,
but down at the bottom
We, too, 
should have rights.”

Dr. Seuss


Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Domestic Violence Month Again - and Topeka, Kansas Honors It By Decrimalizing Domestic Violence

Yes that headline is correct! In order to save money, Topeka, Kansas has chosen to decriminalize domestic violence!  With the US economy stagnant and so many more families suffering, domestic violence has increased dramatically. This is the worst environment in which to decide to stop protecting women and children in the home. A woman is abused every 15 seconds in this country, one in four women are abused at some time. And now their abusers have been given a free hand, and their victims no recourse. How abandoned those women must now feel. Their abusers have tried repeatedly to convince them they were worthless, of no value, and now those who have sworn to serve and protect have validated their abusers. Things have deteriorated so badly in this country I hardly recognize it anymore. The welfare of it's citizens, especailly the most vulnerable among us, no longer seems to be a priority. Power and the bottom line seem to be all that matters to the elites and those who do their bidding in this country anymore. What happened to ..."with liberty and justice for all."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Village Mystery by Elinor Wylie

The woman in the pointed hood 
And cloak blue-gray like a pigeon's wing, 
Whose orchard climbs to the balsam-wood, 
Has done a cruel thing.

To her back door-step came a ghost, 
A girl who had been ten years dead, 
She stood by the granite hitching-post 
And begged for a piece of bread.

Now why should I, who walk alone, 
Who am ironical and proud, 
Turn, when a woman casts a stone 
At a beggar in a shroud?

I saw the dead girl cringe and whine, 
And cower in the weeping air-- 
But, oh, she was no kin of mine, 
And so I did not care!

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