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'Twas a sound I thought alarming, most assuredly disarming;
Up I rose from peaceful slumber to discern what it might be.
While my candle flickered, wavered; whilst my heartbeat halted, quavered,
At my window I was favoured by it sounding, dreadfully-
In the darkness loudly pounding- drawing nearer, dreadfully
As if calling out to me.
When the window I unshuttered, as my heart so wildly fluttered
Sounded forth the sound, and nearer, sounded forth so dismally:
And I heard the tempest sighing, through the trees and chimneys crying,
As if left alone and dying by some God-forsaken sea-
Quite forsaken, quite abandoned by the inky, lifeless sea,
Just as black as black can be.
There I stood a moment longer as the wailing winds grew stronger.
'Tis, I thought, but silly fancies dreamed imaginatively;
For there's nothing coming, leaving, and the night can be deceiving;
Yes, the wind was only breathing on the ancient maple tree,
Which was rapping on the shutters in the night, incessantly-
This was all that it could be.
Then a furious arctic guster gathered might and main and muster
And with hands so cold and clammy put my candle out while he
Wrapped his chilling hands around me, in his frozen grip he bound me;
I, his presence all around me groaned and grumbled in the dark;
As I groped and griped and stumbled, groaned and grumbled in the dark-
While he laughed so wickedly.
To the window, pitter-patter, I rehasped it with a clatter
Then relit and watched my candle as it flamed assuredly,
While it lit the old surroundings; but then how my heart was pounding!
As I gazed at the astounding standing on my posted bed,
Perched above the feathered pillows where I rest my weary head,
Perched there unashamedly.
"Ah," said I, "this nameless flutter sounding, pounding on the shutter
It was only this dear fellow trying so determinedly
To gain entrance to my dwelling, all to bring this piece of spelling,
And there really is no telling who has sent him here to me
'Till I read the little letter fastened on below his knee,
That he bears so cheerfully.
I undid the purple ribbon tied about the charming pigeon,
Quite forgetful of his presence as I read absorbedly.
I spent little time deciding who had sent this piece of writing,
For it bore me happy tidings in a hand I knew so well;
In a cheerful, laughing manner, so it was not hard to tell
That it was from my Melody.
"My favourite ribbon, I've untied it from my hair and wrapped inside it
All the words I wish to say, but am too far to tell to thee."
From this point and on hereafter I omit her words of laughter,
Words that make my heart beat faster; words that stop it suddenly:
Words that make me melancholy; words that make me shout with glee-
Words sent by my Melody.
When I'd traced each perfect letter, I was thinking clearer, better;
I set out some feed and water for my friend, repentantly.
"Pigeon," said I, "rest beside me; walls and roof shall safely hide thee
From the tempest roaring blindly o'er the inky, lifeless sea."
And I squinted through the shadows where he perched there silently;
Resting, sleeping peacefully.
Drawing near, I kissed him gently, thinking all the while intently
That the very place I kissed him once was cradled tenderly
By the hand I wish was holding onto mine, and deftly molding
Into mine, and mine enfolding, that of her who wrote to me;
That of her so far away across the inky, lifeless sea-
That of dearest Melody.
Entered In Kelly Deschler's Contest, "The Raven"
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