Near a Raven (not quite The Raven) : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I found the following poem on the internet. It's called "Near a Raven" and I was wondering if it was writen by Poe himself or if someone just redid The Raven.

Poe, E. Near a Raven

Midnights so dreary, tired and weary. Silently pondering volumes extolling all by-now obsolete lore. During my rather long nap - the weirdest tap! An ominous vibrating sound disturbing my chamber's antedoor. "This", I whispered quietly, "I ignore".

Perfectly, the intellect remembers: the ghostly fires, a glittering ember. Inflamed by lightning's outbursts, windows cast penumbras upon this floor. Sorrowful, as one mistreated, unhappy thoughts I heeded: That inimitable lesson in elegance - Lenore - Is delighting, exciting...nevermore.

Ominously, curtains parted (my serenity outsmarted), And fear overcame my being - the fear of "forevermore". Fearful foreboding abided, selfish sentiment confided, As I said, "Methinks mysterious traveler knocks afore. A man is visiting, of age threescore."

Taking little time, briskly addressing something: "Sir," (robustly) "Tell what source originates clamorous noise afore? Disturbing sleep unkindly, is it you a-tapping, so slyly? Why, devil incarnate!--" Here completely unveiled I my antedoor-- Just darkness, I ascertained - nothing more.

While surrounded by darkness then, I persevered to clearly comprehend. I perceived the weirdest dream...of everlasting "nevermores". Quite, quite, quick nocturnal doubts fled - such relief! - as my intellect said, (Desiring, imagining still) that perchance the apparition was uttering a whispered "Lenore". This only, as evermore.

Silently, I reinforced, remaining anxious, quite scared, afraid, While intrusive tap did then come thrice - O, so stronger than sounded afore. "Surely" (said silently) "it was the banging, clanging window lattice." Glancing out, I quaked, upset by horrors hereinbefore, Perceiving: a "nevermore".

Completely disturbed, I said, "Utter, please, what prevails ahead. Repose, relief, cessation, or but more dreary 'nevermores'?" The bird intruded thence - O, irritation ever since! - Then sat on Pallas' pallid bust, watching me (I sat not, therefore), And stated "nevermores".

Bemused by raven's dissonance, my soul exclaimed, "I seek intelligence; Explain thy purpose, or soon cease intoning forlorn 'nevermores'!" "Nevermores", winged corvus proclaimed - thusly was a raven named? Actually maintain a surname, upon Pluvious seashore? I heard an oppressive "nevermore".

My sentiments extremely pained, to perceive an utterance so plain, Most interested, mystified, a meaning I hoped for. "Surely," said the raven's watcher, "separate discourse is wiser. Therefore, liberation I'll obtain, retreating heretofore - Eliminating all the 'nevermores' ".

Still, the detestable raven just remained, unmoving, on sculptured bust. Always saying "never" (by a red chamber's door). A poor, tender heartache maven - a sorrowful bird - a raven! O, I wished thoroughly, forthwith, that he'd fly heretofore. Still sitting, he recited "nevermores".

The raven's dirge induced alarm - "nevermore" quite wearisome. I meditated: "Might its utterances summarize of a calamity before?" O, a sadness was manifest - a sorrowful cry of unrest; "O," I thought sincerely, "it's a melancholy great - furthermore, Removing doubt, this explains 'nevermores' ".

Seizing just that moment to sit - closely, carefully, advancing beside it, Sinking down, intrigued, where velvet cushion lay afore. A creature, midnight-black, watched there - it studied my soul, unawares. Wherefore, explanations my insight entreated for. Silently, I pondered the "nevermores".

"Disentangle, nefarious bird! Disengage - I am disturbed!" Intently its eye burned, raising the cry within my core. "That delectable Lenore - whose velvet pillow this was, heretofore, Departed thence, unsettling my consciousness therefore. She's returning - that maiden - aye, nevermore."

Since, to me, that thought was madness, I renounced continuing sadness. Continuing on, I soundly, adamantly forswore: "Wretch," (addressing blackbird only) "fly swiftly - emancipate me!" "Respite, respite, detestable raven - and discharge me, I implore!" A ghostly answer of: "nevermore".

" 'Tis a prophet? Wraith? Strange devil? Or the ultimate evil?" "Answer, tempter-sent creature!", I inquired, like before. "Forlorn, though firmly undaunted, with 'nevermores' quite indoctrinated, Is everything depressing, generating great sorrow evermore? I am subdued!", I then swore.

In answer, the raven turned - relentless distress it spurned. "Comfort, surcease, quiet, silence!" - pleaded I for. "Will my (abusive raven!) sorrows persist unabated? Nevermore Lenore respondeth?", adamantly I encored. The appeal was ignored.

"O, satanic inferno's denizen -- go!", I said boldly, standing then. "Take henceforth loathsome "nevermores" - O, to an ugly Plutonian shore! Let nary one expression, O bird, remain still here, replacing mirth. Promptly leave and retreat!", I resolutely swore. Blackbird's riposte: "nevermore".

So he sitteth, observing always, perching ominously on these doorways. Squatting on the stony bust so untroubled, O therefore. Suffering stark raven's conversings, so I am condemned, subserving, To a nightmare cursed, containing miseries galore. Thus henceforth, I'll rise (from a darkness, a grave) -- nevermore!

-- Original: E. Poe -- Redone by measuring circles.

The interesting thing about it has pi in it. 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820 974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982 Observe: Poe, E. Near a Raven. The lengths of the words are as follows: 31415. If it seems to bear a striking resemblance to pi thats no coincidence. The rest of the poem follows that same pattern. Please help me out if you can. :) Thank you!

-- Anonymous, April 01, 2000


it is possible that Poe might have written this, poetry (and such a great one as the raven) is not a matter of inspiration. it is possible that he made several drafts of the poem, and this is one of them, the vocabulary is the kind poe would use.....but the mathemathical patter, i cannot explain. In one of his essays, "treaty of poetry" i think, he explains how he wrote the Raven, read it it might help.

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2000

i correct myself, the tittle of teh essay is "Philosophy of Composition". thank you

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2000


While I agree that this is a very interesting and amusing work, alas, it is, most certainly, not by Edgar Allan Poe and I doubt it would meet the test of carbon dating back more than a decade. It was constructed by Mr. Michael Keith, a rather ingenious and inventive gentleman that appears to be quite resourceful and enjoys playing with words, numbers, anagrams and such. Poe E, Near a Raven is an example of what Michael (if I may be so bold as to call him Michael) refers to as constrained writing. His definition of constrained writing is as follows:

Constrained writing is the art of constructing a work of prose or poetry that obeys some artificially imposed condition.

In this example, Mr. Keith has carried the value of pi to a lengthy decimal point by using the word (name) Poe as the only whole number, placing a decimal after, and then begins to enumerate each successive word with letters equal to the numeric value of each successive decimal in pi. Granted. A very complex task and I applaud him... loudly.

However, I respectfully part with Mr. Keith on his view that it somehow matches Poes own 1845 poem. Clearly it is not enough to approximate rhythm and rhyme, but surely must meet the test of expression, of depth and of passion. It does none of these. Perhaps, if I read it more often but it seems I lack the urge or, at least, the craving to do so. Im quite sure Mr. Keith will understand.

Most interesting is Mr. Keiths rediscovered use of constrained writing as defined by Michael himself. Our dear Mr. Poe, it appears, was doing this 150 years ago in his poem A Valentine. In it, you will find the name of the person for whom the poem was intended. Using the first letter of the first line and the second letter of the second line, and so on, and so on, the poem ultimately spells out the ladys name.

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2000

Thanks for digging up the origin of this poem; no thanks for the snide comments - "I must respectfully part from Mr. Keith...". "Near a Raven" does not attempt to replicate the original; it aims to paraphrase it as closely as possible within the constraints imposed. The only way to recreate the exact quality and depth of feelng of "The Raven" would be to copy it word for word; Mr. Keith's composition, like all ood constrained writing, has a very different beauty of its own. And Poe was by no means the first to try his hand at constrained writing. One of the oldest forms is the lipogram, going back at least to the ancient Greeks. To write a lipogram, you simply leave out all words that use a particular letter - for example, this phrase is itself a lipogram; it is absolutely empty of 'n's (apart from that one, of course). Several novel-length lipograms have ben written; perhaps the most notable is George Perec's "La disparition", containing not a single "e"; it has been impressively translated into english as "A Void". For more on the principles and aesthetics of constrained writing, I can recomeend the work of the French "Oulipo" society: the site <> provides a good introduction.


-- Anonymous, March 02, 2001

Mr. Lumsdaine,

First, let me thank you for your feedback and your additional comments. I regret that your interpretation of my comments above had, in your view, displayed some measure of contempt for the work of Michael Keith. It was not my intent to be "snide" nor was there any contempt for his work. It is a curious fact of internet communications that one's mind set is most difficult to convey in textual commentary and great care must be taken to impart the proper context of any particular point. I had used the word "respectfully" in an attempt to convey to the reader that while I may have been at odds with Mr. Keith's own opinion of his work, I can certainly admire his attempt. Which I do.

However, Mr. Keith's title of his poem infers a near similarity to the poem by Mr. Poe. In addition, his own bold statement that his 1995 poem, "... bears an uncanny similarity to a certain famous poem by Edgar Allen Poe." is an assessment with which I simply cannot concur. In his explanation of this example of constrained writing, Mr. Keith says that his objective was to attempt to follow the story, tone and rhyme scheme of the original as closely as possible. He then goes into a detailed description of the concessions he must make to accomplish his goal, with each concession taking him farther and farther adrift from the original. I will certainly concede that there is a flavor, so to speak, of Poe's poem but it is a very limited one and while it meets the constraints imposed, alas, it does not approximate "The Raven." Perhaps his poem does possess a "beauty" of its own and it is merely the differences in our perspectives that permits you to see that beauty and I to see a mere mathematical constant applied to a literary masterpiece. While I may not see the "beauty" as you see it, it does not diminish my admiration for Mr. Keith's attempt in the least.

Secondly, in my prior comments regarding Mr. Poe's predilection for writing acrostics, there exists no mention of Mr. Poe as being the progenitor of "constrained writing" nor did I intend to infer such a thing. I was simply attempting to point out that Poe's affinity for secret writing often spilled over into his works and was, by Mr. Keith's definition, a form of constrained writing. Which it is. My comments regarding the lack of urgency on my part for re-reading Mr. Keith's poem was not intended as disrespect but more to express my lack of appreciation for what I perceive as an unsuccessful attempt to capture what he himself had established as his objective.

Finally, Mr. Lumsdaine, your curious perception that I was attempting to be snide or vicious is unwarranted and speaks more to your own predisposition for presumptive interpretation. That we disagree is clear; that you share an appreciation for "constrained writing" divergent from my own is transparent; that we may remain at odds respectfully... well, that is solely up to you, sir.

As regards your comment regarding carbon monoxide poisoning and its possible impact on Poe's writing, I tend to agree that the more exquisite elements of Poe's work does not, necessarily, disprove external influences. Neither does it prove external influences. That is precisely why I indicated that it was my preference to believe his work was the result of his genius and talents as opposed to any "madness or hallucinations." I would think that any reasonable person would logically feel that the clarity and continuity of any literary work would tend to dispel the thought that carbon monoxide poisoning was, in any way, probable. I fully understand that my view is in direct contrast to the popular belief that Poe's work was the product of madness. Were it so... it was an exquisite madness.

Warm Regards,

-- Anonymous, March 03, 2001

HeHeHe! You are all silly!! SILLY LAWN GNOMES! you smell like poppy! pooppppyy in the toilet!! smelly yucky stinky poopie! well thats you! hehehe sometimes i poop in my pants and it looks like you...did edger allen poe poop in his pants?? i think so!!! i wonder if it was smart poop?

-- Anonymous, January 28, 2002

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