S3 E12: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
On the days of October 31 and November 1, we are celebrating traditions that have come to us through the centuries. The ancients who commemorated the Celtic Festival of Samhain would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts, marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or “darker-half” of the year. All Saints Day originated with Pope Gregory III, in around 731 when he designated November 1st as a time to honour all saints.
Soon, as is the way with legends and traditions, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. What was first known as All Hallows Eve, became Halloween, a day where activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats have entertained us over the years.
I am reading this poem at the stroke of midnight on October 31, 2023, the very point of transition between Halloween and the coming of All Saints Day. The trick or treaters are safely home with their stash of candy. The candles illuminating the jack-o-lanterns sitting on steps leading to doorways have long since burned out. Now, a ghostly, intense darkness envelopes our side of the world, magnifying the noises of night. Do you hear the whispers? Do you hear the creaks in the floorboards, the cold wind whistling around the corner of the house? What is tapping at the windowpane?
Fears come in the night and are exaggerated by darkness.
What better time than now to recite “The Raven” the poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
We find a young scholar reading books of “lore” by a dying fire on a dreary night in December. Lamenting the loss of love, the young scholar is seeking a way to forget the death of the beloved Lenore. A tapping at the chamber door reveals nothing. But the tapping is repeated more incessantly, now at the window. When the window is opened, a raven flutters into the chamber and the perches on a bust of Pallas above the door.
As the poem progresses the young scholar begins as “weak and weary,” transitioning to regretful and grief-stricken, before passing into an angry frenzy when the raven says “nevermore” to being reunited with the beloved Lenore.
As we pass into the night, join me in reciting The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.
Thank you for joining me in reciting The Raven.
The dawn in near, morning is coming, and a new day will come again. Having faced darkness, it is time to live in the light.
Until we meet again, dear friends, keep reading, keep reciting poetry, take care and be well. I leave you with these words by Edgar Allan Poe.
“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”
Poetry Recitation by Rebecca Budd
Music by Epidemic Sound
Howard Harper-Barnes “Mysterious Forest”
Spectacles, Wallet and Watch “A Little Nightmare”