by Lilla Orly
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I fluttered weak and weary,
Soaring over towns and people, my wings growing ever more feeble,
The harsh winter wind blowing, swirling, throwing me about,
I searched for a safe haven, a home with a hearth,
Until I came across a small dwelling with its inviting windows aglow,
And, like any polite creature, I knocked on the door.
There was no immediate answer, and so I waited upon the doorstep,
Hovering patiently in the bleak December air, rustling my feathers,
I thought of my journey, and of my final destination yet to find,
When suddenly a voice erupted from within the home,
Frightened, I fled from the doorway just as a man emerged,
I hid among the branches of a tree, watching.
The man peered into the darkness as though wondering, perhaps fearing,
Dreaming dreams no mortal had ever dared dream before,
It was as though the man had been hoping for an unexpected visitor,
So I looked upon this lonely soul before me, when he whispered, ‘Lenore!’
Unsure of the word’s meaning but sure of its importance, I repeated as he,
‘Lenore!’ I murmured, merely this and nothing more.
Apparently the man hadn’t heard me, for he turned into his chamber once more,
I began to grow impatient, how much longer could I stand?
How much longer must I endure the nibbling bitter cold?
I leapt, my wings feeling heavy as I took flight, all my soul within me burning,
I landed upon a window lattice, and began tapping somewhat louder than before,
Hoping, wishing, the man would hear me, and invite me into his home.
Finally, he flung open the shutter, and with many a flirt and flutter,
I stepped into the humble abode, relieved to be out of the night’s frosty grip,
I peered into the man’s face, as a strange memory stirred my mind,
A subtle hint of long ago, something hidden, pushed away for its time of arousal,
My wings feeling heavy, I perched upon the bust of Pallas just above the door.
Perched and sat and nothing more.
Suddenly, the corner of the man’s lips turned up into a strange smile,
I puffed my chest, feeling he was mocking my stance above his chamber door,
Until he spoke, “Art sure no craven,”
Finally, of all the people I had met, someone took note of my majesty,
Others had commonly mistaken me for an abominable crow,
Then the man asked my name and I replied, “Nevermore.”
The man stood, staring at me with what I could only assume was admiration,
I felt his eyes boring into me, searching for what, I could not tell,
Then the little fellow scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Me, being the loyal Raven that I am, felt obliged to stay with my new companion,
And so I replied, “Nevermore.”
My new friend seemed startled, and stood mumbling to himself for a moment,
Without warning, he swiftly wheeled a cushioned seat before me, and sank into the velvet,
At first I was very pleased with the rapt expression upon his face,
I felt he must have been glorifying, if not, worshipping my sovereign beauty,
The man abruptly began crying, confusing me for the returning memories of a lost Lenore.
Shocked by the sudden outburst I answered, “Nevermore.”
It soon occurred to me that this man was nowhere near sane, as he shouted,
Calling me a ‘thing of evil,’ and asking if I knew of the balm in Gilead,
I wondered what could have driven such a humble creature to the brink of hysteria,
At first, I believed it must have been my regal elegance,
But then I recalled the familiar Lenore, and suddenly felt an ache of despair for the man,
Responding in what I hoped was a comforting tone I said, “Nevermore.”
The man, obviously not understanding sympathy, only became more enraged,
Telling me to leave his loneliness unbroken and to quit the bust above his door,
Hurt by the raucous cries of dismissal from the man I wanted to love,
I contemplated leaving, but my pride took hold of me; so I stood taller,
Digging my talons deep into the bust of Pallas above the door,
And I responded indignantly, “Nevermore.”
This only drove the man further into madness,
He began clutching at fistfuls of hair and shrieking,
“Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
This exclamation wounded my very own heart,
Never had I any intention of tormenting the poor soul before me,
But all I could do was watch as he descended ever deeper into delirium.
There I remain to this day, perched upon the bust of Pallas above the chamber door,
I observe the sunken man, night and day, day and night,
For I had failed to recall that I had known him before,
This was the man I had been searching for, where I fluttered, weak and weary,
This was the man who long ago I had forgotten was my ultimate destination,
For I had known him, when my name was once, “Lenore”.