Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand –
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep – while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

- “A Dream Within a Dream,” by Edgar Allan Poe

Instead of struggling through dusty and mildewed ancient copies of works by Keats, Shelley, or Byron, should I not instead read through the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe? I admit – just as you, no doubt – that the name Poe does not lead one to tack on the letters t, r, and y. Yet of the half-dozen or so poems of his I’ve read (and I may have posted one or two here), I have never been disappointed. While not a technical genius, he does express a plane of metaphysical angst that I find easy to skate on. It’s not cheap and teenish or French-philosophe-ish, more (yet not) horrorish, more science fictionish, if I be forced to try to plant my finger on that pulse.

Something to put down on the index card, for my library and used book store travels this weekend.

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