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Poe

Edgar Allan Poe may be the king of the macabre tale, but this troubled and tortured soul also had a serious romantic side. We’re all familiar with his works of suspense and horror: “The Raven”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, and “The Fall of the House of Usher”, to name a few. But I want to introduce you to the softer side of Poe.

Allow me to acquaint you with two of my favourite Poe love poems. The first you may be familiar with, but probably not the second: the haunting “Annabel Lee”, and the somewhat obscure but disturbingly beautiful “For Annie”.

The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world — and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.

While Poe wrote these words referencing his poem “The Raven” in the essay “The Philosophy of Composition”, they’re perfectly applicable to “Annabel Lee” as well.

“Annabel Lee” is an agonizing look into the heart and soul of a man who is mourning the woman he loves. I say “loves” — present tense — because it’s clear that even though she’s gone, he’s still in love with her. And that’s what makes this poem so special. It’s not speaking of a love lost, but of a love that’s momentarily absent.

Poe hits the tone of this poem beautifully. It’s full of gorgeous imagery and exquisitely crafted verses. It’s lyrical and exceptionally moving. Poe strikes a balance of melancholy and sorrow, without letting the piece become depressing.

Irresistible to the hopeless romantics among us, “Annabel Lee” will appeal to all die-hard Poe fans alike. With it, Poe has once again left his unique, indelible mark on the soul of all who read his writing.

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Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;

Poe Quote - Annabel Lee1 I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Poe Quote - Annabel Lee2 In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

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“For Annie” was a poem that I stumbled across in my reading one day. I had never heard of it, but when I read it, it made my heart ache. What an incredibly touching poem this is. I’m shocked that it isn’t more widely known amongst not only Poe’s work, but poetry in general.

There isn’t much for me to say about “For Annie”. The poem speaks for itself, possibly better than any other of Poe’s writings. This is truly a work of art. It’s sad and disturbing, but again, Poe has carefully navigated the fine line between pensive wistfulness and all-out despair.

While the topic is once again death, Poe has used the narrator’s positive thoughts of his Annie to provide a spark of hope, and by the time we reach the end of the poem, the reader is bathed with a true sense of peace. A remarkable feat, the likes of which only Edgar Allan Poe could accomplish. And what could be more beautiful and optimistic than finding comfort in spite of death, because you love and are loved?

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For Annie

Thank Heaven! the crisis-
The danger is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last-
And the fever called “Living”
Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know
I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
As I lie at full length-
But no matter!-I feel
I am better at length.

Poe Quote - Annie3

The moaning and groaning,
The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
With that horrible throbbing
At heart:- ah, that horrible,
Horrible throbbing!

The sickness- the nausea-
The pitiless pain-
Have ceased, with the fever
That maddened my brain-
With the fever called “Living”
That burned in my brain.

And oh! of all tortures
That torture the worst
Has abated- the terrible
Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
Of Passion accurst:-
I have drunk of a water
That quenches all thirst:-

Poe Quote - Annie2

And ah! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy
And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
In a different bed-
And, to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit
Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
Regretting its roses-
Its old agitations
Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly
Lying, it fancies
A holier odor
About it, of pansies-
A rosemary odor,
Commingled with pansies-
With rue and the beautiful
Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,
Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
And the beauty of Annie-
Drowned in a bath
Of the tresses of Annie.

Poe Quote - Annie1

When the light was extinguished,
She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
To keep me from harm-
To the queen of the angels
To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
(Knowing her love)
That you fancy me dead-
And I rest so contentedly,
Now, in my bed,
(With her love at my breast)
That you fancy me dead-
That you shudder to look at me,
Thinking me dead.

But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie-

Poe Quote - Annie4 With the thought of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie.

Poe Signature

It’s clear that Poe understood what so few people do — what it’s like to truly “LOVE” someone. Today this word gets tossed around as if it were common and unremarkable. Every day is filled with, “I love this, I love that, and I love you,” but, oh, how we’re misusing a word which, when used properly, speaks louder than anything you can imagine. It’s been cheapened and sullied, and no longer has any real meaning.

So what is the true meaning of the word “love”? If you want to know whether or not you love someone, ask yourself two questions: 1) “Can I live without this person?” And most importantly, 2) “Would I give my life for this person?” If you answer “no” to either of those questions, or you even have to ponder your answer, then you have no business allowing the words “I love you” to pass your lips. And feelings you have which are devoid of these two points are not love at all. Not real love. Not true love.

“But we loved with a love that was more than love.” When you feel THAT? Then, and only then, have you experienced love the way God intended it to be: pure, perfect, and true. Untainted by appearance or convenience. Unmarred by circumstance and situation. Love in its purest, truest form doesn’t need to be learned. It can’t be manufactured, and it surely can’t be pretended. And most importantly, it can’t be undone.

There is no falling out of love. There’s only never having loved in the first place.

♥ ♥

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