Monday, April 09, 2007

Stark raven

It's about time we heard this from the birds point of view



Blogger butch said...

Doug: Cool cartoon and bitchin art and heavy duty symbolism. Here is some data to peruse relative to the Raven.

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
First Published in 1845

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 someone 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 forevermore.

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 the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
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, something 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 raven, of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
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 craven,
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore.
Tell me what the 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 blessed 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 that 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 before;
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 sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
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."

Thus 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, methought, 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, O quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the raven, "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 raven, "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 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 of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"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 door!"
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 floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!

I still get ravens and crows mixed up. I guess the raven is much larger genus, but is basically the same bird. Crows are smarter than hell, and here in the Northwest they are become more and more plentiful. Out on the 400 acre campus of the VA American Lake in Tacoma, WA., we get swarms of crows. They run off the smaller scavengers like robins and cardinals. We also have a nesting pair of bald eagles here, so they kick crow ass once in a while. I wonder if the magpie is in the crow family. I was sitting on a bench near a building with a friend at Pacific Beach, WA a year ago, and a crow landed near us; and it started talking to us; simple words but clearly enunciated. It freaked us out, but I think crows, like magpies and parrots are terrific mimikers. My favorite crows are Heckel and Jekyl though. They made some very funny cartoons and comic books circa the 30's, 40's, and into the 50's. Native Americans revere the crow for its intelligence and its spiritual powers. According to several Northwest tribes, the crow is a jokester, a prankster, it just likes to have fun; but it can be a Totem as well, and it has been known to take good care of a warrior or woman or child. Because it is black in hue though, the crow has often been associated with evil doers and devilish monsters, who seem to keep them around as pets. Perhaps they bully other birds. They sure as hell bully the sea gulls, which is not an easy task, out at the ocean along the north beaches above Ocean Shores. In Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS, it was the crows that led the flocks, that went for the eyes, that took no shit. The next time you see a pair of them on a wire, watch them carefully. They are very wise for bird brains.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Butch/Glenn for your time and effort in giving us the complete Poe poem!! Too bad poets today can't write like Poe!!
Thanks, also, for your discourse on the difference between ravens and crows. I can't tell the difference, either. Just this past week, my Significant Other told me the difference, but I have already forgotten what she told me.

2:23 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Poe must have been a strange individual indeed, but he certainly made quite an impression on the world of literature. I would never have known much about him if I had not sat through all those wonderful and dreadful Roger Corman horror flicks at the El Rancho Drive-In the late 50's and early 60's; mostly starring Vincent Price.

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, playwright, editor, critic, essayist and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of the macabre and mystery, Poe was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of detective fiction and crime fiction. He is also credited with contributing to the emergent science fiction genre.[1] Poe died at the age of 40. The cause of his death is undetermined and has been attributed to alcohol, drugs, cholera, rabies, suicide (although likely to be mistaken with his suicide attempt in the previous year), tuberculosis, and other agents.

Main article: Death of Edgar Allan Poe
On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious and "in great distress, and... in need of immediate assistance," according to the friend who found him, Dr. E. Snodgrass. He was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where he died early on the morning of October 7. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition, and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. Poe is said to have repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death. Some sources say Poe's final words were "Lord help my poor soul".[4] Poe suffered from bouts of depression and madness, and he may have attempted suicide in 1848.[5]

Poe finally died on Sunday, October 7, 1849 at 5:00 in the morning.[6] The precise cause of Poe's death is disputed and has aroused great controversy.

Christ, only 40 years old. I found the love of my life, the Divine Miss Melva, when I was 45 years old. I know that we all live somewhat longer in this day and age, but do I really want to wait three more years to retire, until I am 66? The dirt nap seems pretty permanent, and there are so many more movies to see, and sunrises and sets, and moods of the ocean, and all those beef steaks and chocolate, and the occasional wrestling match with your significant other, and those operas yet to come, and traveling troupes and dance companies. I actually went to church this last Sunday, it being Easter, and as the minister droned on about Jesus (His sermon was called CSI:Jerusalem; how cool is that?), all I could think about were the lyrics to a ZZ TOP song, WAITING FOR THE BUS:
Jesus done left Chicago,
Bound for New Orleans,
Crossing many states
And everyplace in between.
He walked across Mississippi
Turning muddy water into wine;
Traveling all the way to California
Cross mountains and pine.
You will not see him in person,
But he will see you just the same;
You don't have to worry,
Taking care of business is his name.

RIP Edgar Allen Poe, and when you all see a crow, or a flock of crows, or a raven --call him over and give him/them a crust of your sandwich, and have a little conversation about life and death and madness and sea gulls and native Americans. Just do it.


5:46 AM  
Blogger butch said...

Here is one more bit of Raven data, the film.

THE RAVEN (1963)

Director:Roger Corman

Writers:Richard Matheson
Edgar Allan Poe (poem)

Release Date:25 January 1963 (USA) more
Genre:Comedy / Fantasy / Horror more
Tagline:The Macabre Masterpiece of Terror! more
Plot Outline:A magician who has been turned into a raven turns to a former sorcerer for help in this film loosely based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem. more
Plot Keywords:Father Daughter Relationship / Duel / Whimsical / Campy / Father Son Relationship more
User Comments:Party Time more

(Complete credited cast)

Vincent Price ... Dr. Erasmus Craven

Peter Lorre ... Dr. Adolphus Bedlo

Boris Karloff ... Dr. Scarabus
Hazel Court ... Lenore Craven
Olive Sturgess ... Estelle Craven

Jack Nicholson ... Rexford Bedlo
Connie Wallace ... Maid
William Baskin ... Grimes (Craven's servant)
Aaron Saxon ... Gort


Runtime:86 min
Color:Color (Pathécolor)
Aspect Ratio:2.35 : 1 more
Sound Mix:Mono
Certification:UK:18 (video rating) (1984) / UK:PG (video rating) (2003) / UK:X (original rating) / Argentina:Atp / Australia:PG / Finland:K-16 / Sweden:15 / USA:G (1980)
MOVIEmeter: 2% since last week why?
Company:Alta Vista Productions more


Trivia:In casting his spells, Dr. Bedlo uses several Latin phrases: Veni vidi vici: I came, I saw, I conquered. De mortuis nil nisi bonum: Do not speak ill of the dead. Cave canem: Beware of the dog. Si vis pacem parabellum: If you want peace, prepare for war. Ceterum censio Carthaginem esse delendam: Furthermore, I believe that Carthage must be destroyed. more
Goofs:Continuity: When Dr. Scarabus shakes hands with Dr. Craven, Dr. Bedlo stands behind the latter, but seen from behind he appears a little way on the left side of Dr. Craven. more
Quotes:Rexford Bedlo: I am Dr. Bedlo's son!
Dr. Bedloe: I am sorry...
Movie Connections:Featured in Fantastic Fantasy Fright-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (1996) (V) more


5:55 AM  

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