C. Meton

Quoth the Raven
A parody by C. Meton.

Source: Edgar Poe, “The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over a cold pizza and the smelly volume of a mildewed book
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping- on my door they softly knocked.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “on my door why do they knock?
"What is it that they want?”

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in a bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost as if to mock.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my book an end of sorrow from the pain for which I sulked
For the rare and radiant maiden whom I recently had lost,
Whose face for sure would stop no clock.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terrors and such awesome shock;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance that is why they knock-
Some late visitor entreating entrance as they stand and knock.
Perhaps with me they wish to talk.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, surely you know the door is locked;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping as at my door you knocked,
That I scarce was sure I heard you” so I opened and took stock
But darkness added to my shock.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams, and thinking sometimes love is such a crock;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word I blocked,
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “a crock!”
It was the pain I blocked.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder now they knocked,
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery defrock-
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery unlock
‘Tis the wind that soon will stop.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven and it took me quite aback.
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord and lady, perched atop my antique clock,
Perched upon the clock and sat there just as if my soul to mock —
Perched and sat — tick tock, tick tock.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of a mighty, golden hawk,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from some cold, wet rock,
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian dock!”
Quoth the Raven only, “Squawk!”

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy brought;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his antique clock
Bird or beast upon the clock that softly made the sound, tick tock
With such a name as “Squawk!”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that ancient clock, spoke only
That one word, as if with meaning through another word he could not talk.
Nothing further then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends too ran amuck.
On the morrow he will leave me, as too my hopes had taken walk.”
Then the bird again said, “Squawk!”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only store and stock.
Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till he freed that fateful rook-
And the dirges of his hope the melancholy message taught,
‘For sure, love is a crock.’”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and door and clock;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird had brought
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird had taught
While so loudly croaking, “Squawk!”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my skin a pock;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining as the bird did sit and gawk,
But whose velvet violet lining where we used to sit and talk
On this velvet violet lining where we sat after a walk
Will never hold our persons talking or at love’s temptations balking
And all the bird can say is, “Squawk!”

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted walk.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite respite and nepenthe from thy memories that now stalk!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and at this memory now stop!”
Quoth the Raven only, “Squawk!”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee from thy rock,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted
On this home by Horror haunted tell me truly, please, now talk!
Is there is there balm in Gilead? tell me tell me, blackest rook!”
Quoth the Raven only, “Squawk!”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us by that God we dare not mock
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp that saintly maiden and again our love relock
Clasp that rare and radiant maiden whom I recently had lost,
Quoth again the Raven, “Squawk!”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian dock!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit your perch upon my clock!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my clock!”
Quoth again the Raven, “Squawk!”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting still is sitting
On the antique clock a-ticking on the ticking, tocking, clock.
And his eyes have all the seeming of a Demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the walk;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the walk
Shall be tortured by that squawk.

 


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