Due to my technological deficiencies, I have lost some of the visual notes in the original. If you want to see the original, as written by the poet, look through the comments on September 29, about 3 p.m.


Speaking of Poe

“The Teacher” (Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, with some minor modifications)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and glorious volume of Coleman 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 Common Core—
For the rare and radiant standard whom the Coleman named The Core —
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 term, “Common Core”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Common Core!”—
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 Teacher of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But, with mien of queenly lady, sat inside my chamber door—
Spat upon a bust of Betsy just above my chamber door—
Spat and sat, and nothing more.

Then this stately lady beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance she wore,
“cuz thy face be worn and tired thou,” I said, “art sure retired
Glaring and grim and ancient Teacher wandering from the schoolhouse door —
Tell me what thy queenly name is on the Night’s Reformian shore!”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled at this mainly, to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no Reformer
Ever yet was blessed with seeing Teacher inside his chamber door—
Spitting upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Teacher, spitting longly on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if her soul in that one word she did outpour.
Nothing farther then she uttered—not a sound or word she stuttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other teachers have flown before—
On the morrow she will leave me, as my foes have flown before.”
Again she just said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what she utters is her only stock and store
Brought from some unhappy bastard 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 Teacher still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of Teacher and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous Teacher of yore—
What this grim, glaring, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous Teacher of yore
Meant in speaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the Teacher 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 Common Core
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this Common Core!”
Quoth the Teacher “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 Teacher “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 standard whom the Coleman named The Core—
Clasp a rare and radiant standard whom the Coleman named The Core”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Reformian Shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—spit no more on the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my floor!”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

And the Teacher, never flitting, still is spitting, still is spitting
On the pallid bust of Betsy just above my chamber door;
And her eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er her streaming throws her shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore