Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'Nevermore' Forevermore?

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.'

Don't you love the opening stanza of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven'? In fact, once I read the beginning I'm compelled to read the rest - if you're the same, click here to see the whole poem and discover a great site devoted to All Things Poe. Why talk about Poe today, January 19? It's his birthday and something rather shocking has happened - or rather, not happened!

Since 1949, a mysterious stranger has visited Poe's grave in Baltimore between midnight and dawn on January 19 - leaving three roses and a half-full (or perhaps half-empty is the way Poe would see it) bottle of cognac. This year . . . no roses, no cognac, no note. As the identity of the 'Poe Toaster' is not known, we can only guess at the reason. Perhaps last year was the intentional finale - it was the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth and a nice, round number on which to end. Perhaps the Poe Toaster is in poor health this year? We may never know - or perhaps the tradition will continue next year . . . let's wait and see.

In the meantime, enjoy a Poe poem or take the Baltimore Sun's Poe Quiz or rent the creepy '60s adaptation of the Fall of the House of Usher, starring the King of B-thrillers, Vincent Price.

As for me, I'm off to check around my chamber doors, purple curtains, and window lattices to ensure no craven, ghastly grim and ancient ravens are lurking . . .

1 comment:

  1. Oh I remember reading those prose! Love the words but just not all the stories- if that makes any sense.

    Very interesting about the grave visitor- I hadn't heard the latest.


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