Aug. 22, 2008

Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allan Poe

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:
But we loved with a love that was more than love —
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
Of my darling — my darling — my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

"Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe. Public Domain.

It's the birthday of Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, born in 1822 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was Edgar Allan Poe's first cousin. When she was 10, Edgar moved in with Virginia, her mother, her grandmother, and her brother. Edgar immediately fell in love with a neighbor, and Virginia served as a messenger between them, once bringing Edgar a lock of the other girl's hair. But at some point, he must have fallen in love with Virginia, because he asked her to marry him after he got a job at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Virginia. She married him when she was 13 and he was 27, but she listed her age as 21 on the marriage license. No one knows what the Poes' marriage was like, although biographers and historians like to speculate on whether they ever consummated their marriage, whether Poe had affairs with other women, and how they were affected by the age difference or the fact that they were cousins. Virginia contracted tuberculosis when she was 19, and when she died in 1847, Poe was devastated and started drinking heavily. She may be the inspiration for Poe's poem "Annabel Lee."

In 1846 Virginia wrote a valentine for Edgar that said:
Ever with thee I wish to roam —
Dearest my life is thine.
Give me a cottage for my home
And a rich old cypress vine,
Removed from the world with its sin and care
And the tattling of many tongues.
Love alone shall guide us when we are there —
Love shall heal my weakened lungs;
And Oh, the tranquil hours we'll spend,
Never wishing that others may see!
Perfect ease we'll enjoy, without thinking to lend
Ourselves to the world and its glee —
Ever peaceful and blissful we'll be.

It's the birthday of writer Annie Proulx or E. Annie Proulx, (books by this author) born Edna Annie Proulx in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1935. Her father ran a textile mill and her mother was a painter. Proulx wrote her first short story at age 10 when she had the chicken pox and was bedridden, and she published her first story in Gourmet magazine at age 20. Then she had to raise three sons by herself, and she didn't have time to write fiction. Instead she waited tables, worked for the post office, and wrote magazine articles on topics that included canoeing and mice. She wrote how-to books like Sweet and Hard Cider: Making It, Using It and Enjoying It (1980). Eventually, she started writing fiction again. She only had time to write a few stories a year, but all of them got published. She didn't want to write anything but short stories — she said, "I find it satisfying and intellectually stimulating to work with the intensity, brevity, balance, and word play of the short story." But her first collection of short stories, Heart Songs (1988), got such good reviews that her editor suggested she write a novel. Her response was to laugh. But he kept pushing her to write a novel, and one day she decided to give it a try. She says that "within a half-hour, the whole of Postcards was in my head." Proulx is glad she didn't start writing a novel until she was in her 50s because, she says: "I know a lot more about life than I did 20 years ago, 10 years ago. And I think that's important, to know how the water's gone over the dam before you start to describe it. It helps to have been over the dam yourself." Postcards (1992) was followed by more novels, including The Shipping News (1996). She is the author of the short story "Brokeback Mountain" (The New Yorker 1997), which inspired the film. She says she has never had writer's block.

And it's the birthday of science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury, (books by this author) born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He has written books such as The Martian Chronicles (1950), Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and Farewell Summer (2006).

Ray Bradbury who said, "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."

And, "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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