The Raven

It seems a contradiction that an all time favorite poem for an eternal optimist would be “The Raven.” My earliest memory of the poem – as a preschooler – comes from listening to the music when Mama read. My experience had not yet had time for disenchantment, grief, or cynicism. I had no clue why we wondered whether there was balm in Gilead. But I felt the haunting melody as she repeated “Lenore . . . nothing more . . . Nevermore.”

In a college American literature class, our professor assigned us to do a paper on an American author’s work with the stipulation that each of us had to choose a different author. Her purpose was to prevent sharing in the “before” stage and enhance our sharing in the “after” stage. Since two of us selected Edgar Allan Poe, she conceded that one could do his short stories and one his poetry. I had chosen him first, so she said I could take the short stories. I startled both her and my classmate by asking if I couldn’t take the poetry instead.  My classmate moved from startled to thrilled quickly. She wanted no part of writing about the poetry.

If you are a hidden picture enthusiast, you may have noticed this love continues in my recent “TMI on the Bulletin Board” blog picture. A quilting fiber artist friend, who knows me well, participated in an event honoring Edgar Allan Poe on the 200th anniversary of his birth. She and her fellow artists created post card sized pieces in his memory that were displayed and later donated to a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. (More complete details are in her January 2009 blog on her website at I was delighted that she made a copy of her entry for me.

The Raven, via her postcard, inspires my writing by its presence, not above my chamber door, but above my computer – evermore.