cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

NPM: #25–the Poe in poetry


Most of Poe is a favorite. I don’t care for the macabre aspect, the chop-him-up-cause-I-loved-him-so stuff. Makes me nervous walking across floorboards when he does that kind of writing. My students like Poe because they like the scary aspect of his writing, although they don’t always understand his diction, they get his intent of setting people offside with mixing real with horror. So, it is with surprise that I’ve come across a Poe poem that is actually upbeat. Which Poe are you most familiar with–the scary guy or the dreamer?

Dreams

Edgar Allan Poe, 18091849
Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
’Twere better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be—that dream eternally
Continuing—as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood—should it thus be given,
’Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
For I have revell’d when the sun was bright
I’ the summer sky, in dreams of living light,
And loveliness,—have left my very heart
In climes of mine imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought—what more could I have seen?
’Twas once—and only once—and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass—some power
Or spell had bound me—’twas the chilly wind
Came o’er me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit—or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly—or the stars—howe’er it was
That dream was as that night-wind—let it pass.
I have been happy, tho’ [but] in a dream.
I have been happy—and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love—and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.
Edgar Allan Poe

Eddie, do you need a hug?

image: Academy of American Poets

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13 thoughts on “NPM: #25–the Poe in poetry

  1. I’m really having trouble reading this one with any intelligence tonight. I can’t find the upbeat tone. Perhaps I need to go to bed and read it tomorrow.

    Yes, I only know the Poe of turmoil. The macabre.

    And here, it seems like the dream is one of delirium. A delirium that shines brighter than hope. But like I said, I think I’m delirious this evening. Words are not making sense.

    Good night.

  2. Oh, I’m a macabre Poe kinda fellow. Perhaps my love of rodents began with The Pit and the Pendulum. Who knew that a hungry rat could keep you from getting sliced in half?

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