Monday, February 25, 2008

The Sleeper

At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon. 
An opiate vapour, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop, 
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley. 
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin moulders into rest; 
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take, 
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps! - and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

Oh, lady bright! can it be right -
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop- 
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully - so fearfully - 
Above the closed and fringéd lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come o'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!

Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress!
Strange, above all, thy length of trees,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep, 
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
Forever with unopened eye, 
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold - 
Some vault that oft hath flung its black
And wingéd panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals - 
Some sepulchre, remote, alone, 
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone - 
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

-Edgar Allen Poe

8 comments:

Randal Graves said...

It's about damn time that you're back. And you made your grand reentrance with some Poe, to boot. :)

Richard said...

Poe is one of the few poets I have always liked.

I don't know why, but something about his phrasing and flow are definitely appealing.

La Belette Rouge said...

So happy to see you here!!! You have been missed.
Does Poe have a poem about the month of July? ;-)

b said...

Randal... I love Poe. This poem has really resonated with me this past month, as I've been enduring some wicked insomnia.

Richard... I agree. There is something about Poe, beyond his being deliciously dark.

LBR... Awww.. thank you. I feel a little out of sorts. I'm gonna have to warm up to blogging again! :) Hmm... a poem about the month of July? Well, if this June poem is about sleeping and death, I would think that July would aptly be about being alive and awake... oh, and being in Paris with you eating massive amounts of macarons and rolling our r's with absolute ease! ;-)

La Belette Rouge said...

B: I have nominated you for a "You make my day award." Please see my blog to accept your award.

And, about the poem, don't forget to include something about the French pointing and laughing as we walk and eat crepes.;-)

Cavalock said...

hey b! you r back and u brought Poe with u! hah

b said...

LBR... You are TOO sweet. Thank you for bestowing such an honor upon me! I am so thankful for you and you truly make my day everyday!

Yes, the poem must include some kind of French ridicule for our sloppy, greedy, piggy American ways!!

Cavalock... Yes, I am back. Poe seemed to be an apt source for reentry. I think in large because I was going through some wicked insomnia and Poe seems to speak to me best at those times! :)

lapagefrancaise said...

Hello, B! So very thrilled to see you are back! And with this simply wonderful Poe poem, nonetheless...