It seems Edgar Allan Poe was born an orphan and subsisted as a lonely dejected urchin all his life. His father David Poe Jr. abandoned his mother Elizabeth early on. A couple of years after his disappearance Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis; all before little Eddie was three years old.
A couple named John and Frances Allan took Edgar into their home and fostered him until adulthood or the age of eighteen. At 18 Poe joined the United States Army under the alias Edgar A. Perry claiming to be twenty-two years old because he could not [reportedly] find gainful employment
Tick tock tick tock.
Frances died and Poe was disowned by John Allan—the men had been at odds for some time. Poe did not turn out be the man Allan expected and Allan turned out to be a man Poe despised. One could not abide the other’s vices. That is my summation.
Poe had problems. He drank too much, dreamed too much and lived with depression. That’s undoubtedly obvious.
Tick tock tick tock.
Poe married his first cousin Virginia when he was 26, she was half his age. Yeah, and after a decade of harmony guess what? January 30th 1847 she died of tuberculosis.
Alone again and in failing health Poe became increasingly unstable. On October 3rd 1849 he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore bedraggled and in a state of delirium. Four days later on October 7th 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in hospital. Alone.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were – I have not seen
As others saw – I could not bring
My passions from a common spring –
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow – I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone –
And all I lov’d – I lov’d alone –
Then – in my childhood – in the dawn
Of a most stormy life – was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still –
From the torrent, or the fountain –
From the red cliff of the mountain –
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold –
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by –
From the thunder, and the storm –
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view –
The official cause of death is not recorded, perhaps it is not known. Speculations abound. Alcoholism, tuberculosis, syphilis, encephalitis, concurrent disease, murder…
All I know is this: He was only forty years old and was (like most of us) his own worst enemy. Despite his inner darkness I think Edgar Allan Poe managed to shine a light. I pray he is not alone and that the demon no longer hinders his view.
His remains are buried at Westminster Hall Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
Do you all remember the 1994 movie about a strange girl named Nell who seems to speak her own language? Liam Neeson finds her (Jodi Foster) living alone in a cabin somewhere in the beautiful backwoods of North Carolina. He is amused by her, befriends her and through his study we learn the reason for Nell’s unique dialect.
(Get/watch the movie here if you’re interested.)
So what does one topic have to do with the other? A couple of things. One, poetry (or NaPoWriMo) is like the movie Nell – most people love it or hate it and two, when I say NaPoWriMo I think of Nell. Sometimes I start waving like a tree in the wind with my arms extended as if they were branches; dancing uninhibited and speaking in Nellish, Tay ina win… inna t’ee inna way… T’ee an me an t’ee an me, Reesa, reesa, reesa me. Chicka, chicka, chickabee.
And then some killjoy disrupts me with a reality check:
Janna is not Nell, she is not a tree... and she has no rhythm.
Oh well: doana kee chickabee, NaPoWriMo mos owe stee tie. Two we main.
Translation: don’t cry chickadee baby, National Poetry Writing Month is almost over – or you still have time. Two weeks remain.
* Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is available in digital or paperback. AND as a small token of my appreciation I have arranged for Clan Destiny Book I and Book II to be available without charge via Kindle April 14th and 15th. An honest review would not hurt my feelings. 😉
Tune in next week for more #NPM.
This is my daughter (Jessica’s) favorite poem by Shel Silverstein. I cannot count the number of times we read Where the Sidewalk Ends as she was growing up.
As I was readying to take a shot of the book nestled among jasmine a caterpillar dropped from the sky and pooped! Can you believe it? Hmph! What does he know about poetry?! Gee-sh… and I had just scraped twenty years of boogers off!
SARAH CYNTHIA SYLVIA STOUT WOULD NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out.
She’d wash the dishes and scrub the pans
Cook the yams and spice the hams,
And though her parents would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceiling:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas and rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese,
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the windows and blocked the door,
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peels,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans, and tangerines,
Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
Grisly bits of beefy roast…
The garbage rolled on down the hall,
It raised the roof, it broke the wall…
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Globs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from green baloney,
Rubbery, blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk, and crusts of pie,
Rotting melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold French fries and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That finally it touched the sky,
And all the neighbors moved away,
And none of her friends would come to play,
And finally, Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
“OKAY, I’ll take the garbage out!”
But then, of course it was too late…
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate,
And there in the garbage she did hate,
Poor Sarah met an awful fate
That I cannot right now relate
Because the hour is much too late
But children, remember Sarah Stout,
And always take the garbage out!
It comes as no surprise Jessica grew up to be a goofball. I thank God every day for allowing me to be her mom.
Reminder: Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month…
This post was intended as part of Wordless Wednesday but I have to say this. I do not/did not expect a public response but in last weeks Write Your Own (A Poem & A Picture) Sarah replied with a beautiful piece blending the poem and the picture. I must say it was a very pleasant surprise. I understand many of us are timid about publicizing our words/thoughts; potentially exposing ourselves to ridicule but if any of you would like to make your take of the photo in the reply section I would love to read it.
From Second April (Courtesy of everypoet.com Classic Archives)
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots,
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
Don’t you love the last line(s)? They do strike a chord with me — maybe because I am just living out loud and flinging cake against the wall, right?!
Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. AND to show my appreciation for your support there will be a gift of random books by ‘moi’ each weekend in April. Check in, check them out and follow my Author Page at Amazon for future updates.
P.S. A little history on Edna St. Vincent Millay: After her husband’s death from a stroke in 1949 following the removal of a lung, Millay suffered a great deal; she drank recklessly, and had to be hospitalized. A month later she was back at her farm (Steepletop) where she passed a lonely year working on a new book of poems. She died in 1950 of a heart attack. For more about her works and life visit Poetry Foundation.
Charles Baudelaire was born in Paris on April 9, 1821 and died August 31, 1867 at the age of forty-six, reportedly of syphilis. Another tidbit; When Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in June of 1857, thirteen of its 100 poems were arraigned for inappropriate content. On August 20, 1857, French lawyer Ernest Pinard, who had also famously prosecuted French author Gustave Flaubert, prosecuted Baudelaire for the collection…. Baudelaire was charged with a fine of 300 francs (later reduced to 50), and Les Fleurs du mal suffered from the controversy, becoming known only as a depraved, pornographic work. Now onto the main attraction.
You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”
Well we made it through week one of NPM. Yay! Let’s all get drunk and
get skip the syphilis.
Here comes ‘tha plug’ : I’ve been drunk a time or two, I’ve also published a few hundred poems but I must confess I have never had a STD. And guess what? My dysfunctional disease-free [possibly controversial] book Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. Yeah, I will be saying it again, and again… and again.
Is that a lame title? I can’t help help it, it made me laugh. If you could hear the fella in my head you’d laugh too — or not.
It was a lovely long weekend but now I am back. You wanna see some pictures? Okay.
Starting tomorrow I will be posting A Poem & Picture. I can’t guarantee you that I will post daily throughout April but I will earnestly try for two or three a week. There, I’ve set a goal.
The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
It is NPM, that stands for National Poetry Month baby! Ahhh, I crack me up.
And in case I haven’t told you 1000 times Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. I will be saying it again, and again… and again in case you missed it. 😉