edgar allan poe



If Poe reviewed Dracula would the castle still be haunted
would ravens circle overhead and black cats be unwanted
would Poe name Stoker’s unnamed brides with stories to be told
conjure their names from darkness and to devil be betrothed

Morella is a shade of deadly nightshade called Belladonna, it is old
Ligeia  she of raven’s hair that glints more than dust covered gold
sweet Lenore, the queenliest dead, whose funeral song be sung
three brides who are not brides to God, three who died so young

Alone with demons dreaming is a dead Count in an oblong box
time is measured in centuries and not by the mere mortals clock
Castle Dracula sleeps by day and at night its masques are red
conquering worm slithers amongst unhallowed soil of the dead

If Poe reviewed Dracula would the castle still be haunted
would ravens circle overhead and black cats be unwanted
would love of English graveyard poets be there for all to see
spirits of the dead they circle dark kingdoms by dead seas

A dream within a dream by day a sonnet to utter silence
below there lies a valley of unrest in shadow of the siren
a descent into the maelstrom of undead all untouched by time
red lips they beckon unwise men as they whisper ” Valentine.”

© 2016 Gary Smith

IMAGE: A Family Mausoleum (unidentified, Pinterest)


For years I would go

To the House of Poe

In the city of Philadelphia

Locked up and dark

Near a formidable park

With never a way to enter

After a domestic fight

I ran from the light

To the dark house locked so tight

Walked through the city

The home didn’t look pretty

Heard the croak of a raven’s voice

My heart told the tale

As a black cat did sail

By the back door that opened for me

I entered alone

The door closed, I moaned

Peering into the dark of the room

Is that a coffin

Guarded by a raven

On a catafalque of seraphim?

Surrounding candles waver

I wish I was braver

But I’m frozen to the floorboards

I can see into another room

A pendulum swishing doom

As a wraith breaks through the wall

When suddenly a quiet man

Scratching paper with a quill pen

Looks up and nods to me

“My dear, come here

Please, do not fear

How nice to have a visitor”

The floorboards creak

As I try not to squeak

And I see it is Poe himself!

“Would you like a sip

Of Amontillado, just a nip

Or do you wish to meet my women?”

I follow his pointing finger

See what must be a dead ringer

For each of his finest ladies

There is Ligeia and Lenore

Annabelle, Madeline and more

All dressed in crumbling grave cloth

I turn my back

On the women in white and black

And seek out the man I desire

Normalcy seems to be

The best choice for me

So I say, “You’re my favorite poet!”

“Alas,” he replies

“No one else is so wise

I am not appreciated at all”

“But you are at this time

It is 1999

And see, here is a book honoring you”

“How odd!” is his cry

Why did they wait for me to die

Before I am accepted?”

Says I, “Fortune and fame

An impossible game

To succeed, even when planned

That’s why I write

With no hope in sight

But maybe someday I’ll have won.”

“I come here at night

Although I know I’m a wight

To write the perfect poem

So I’m wasting my time

Leaving Virginia behind

But I am famous already?”

Poe stood up to go

I begged him, “NO!

Please stay for a moment at least

What is it like in the afterlife

You actually are with your wife?”

He looked at me and said,

“Life is not always what we wish

It is suffering and anguish

And we think that death brings relief

But the lessons never cease

Alive, dead or somewhat at peace

We struggle night and day

The terror that we feel

In the life we think is real

Is merely a living fantasy”

“So let me get this straight

Nothing changes in our fate

Alive or dead, our path remains?”

“Until we get it right

There will be no rewrite

We wander through horror and joy.”

“And what must we learn?

Help me to discern

So life can be easier for me”

“I cannot help you through that door

We each fight our own war

I will return nevermore…”

And he was gone

Poe and all his spawn

And I stood alone in the House of Poe

(c) 2014 C. Simmens (ViataMaja)