Ulalume by Poe

The skies they were ashen and sober; 
      The leaves they were crispéd and sere— 
      The leaves they were withering and sere; 
It was night in the lonesome October 
      Of my most immemorial year; 
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, 
      In the misty mid region of Weir— 
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber, 
      In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 
Here once, through an alley Titanic, 
      Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul— 
      Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul. 
These were days when my heart was volcanic 
      As the scoriac rivers that roll— 
      As the lavas that restlessly roll 
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek 
      In the ultimate climes of the pole— 
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek 
      In the realms of the boreal pole. 
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Our talk had been serious and sober, 
      But our thoughts they were palsied and sere— 
      Our memories were treacherous and sere— 
For we knew not the month was October, 
      And we marked not the night of the year— 
      (Ah, night of all nights in the year!) 
We noted not the dim lake of Auber— 
      (Though once we had journeyed down here)— 
We remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, 
      Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 
And now, as the night was senescent 
      And star-dials pointed to morn— 
      As the star-dials hinted of morn— 
At the end of our path a liquescent 
      And nebulous lustre was born, 
Out of which a miraculous crescent 
      Arose with a duplicate horn— 
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent 
      Distinct with its duplicate horn. 
And I said—”She is warmer than Dian: 
      She rolls through an ether of sighs— 
      She revels in a region of sighs: 
She has seen that the tears are not dry on 
      These cheeks, where the worm never dies, 
And has come past the stars of the Lion 
      To point us the path to the skies— 
      To the Lethean peace of the skies— 
Come up, in despite of the Lion, 
      To shine on us with her bright eyes— 
Come up through the lair of the Lion, 
      With love in her luminous eyes.” 
But Psyche, uplifting her finger, 
      Said—”Sadly this star I mistrust— 
      Her pallor I strangely mistrust:— 
Oh, hasten! oh, let us not linger! 
      Oh, fly!—let us fly!—for we must.” 
In terror she spoke, letting sink her 
      Wings till they trailed in the dust— 
In agony sobbed, letting sink her 
      Plumes till they trailed in the dust— 
      Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust. 
I replied—”This is nothing but dreaming: 
      Let us on by this tremulous light! 
      Let us bathe in this crystalline light! 
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming 
      With Hope and in Beauty to-night:— 
      See!—it flickers up the sky through the night! 
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, 
      And be sure it will lead us aright— 
We safely may trust to a gleaming 
      That cannot but guide us aright, 
      Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.” 
Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, 
      And tempted her out of her gloom— 
      And conquered her scruples and gloom: 
And we passed to the end of the vista, 
      But were stopped by the door of a tomb— 
      By the door of a legended tomb; 
And I said—”What is written, sweet sister, 
      On the door of this legended tomb?” 
      She replied—”Ulalume—Ulalume— 
      ‘Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!” 
Then my heart it grew ashen and sober 
      As the leaves that were crispèd and sere— 
      As the leaves that were withering and sere, 
And I cried—”It was surely October 
      On this very night of last year 
      That I journeyed—I journeyed down here— 
      That I brought a dread burden down here— 
      On this night of all nights in the year, 
      Oh, what demon has tempted me here? 
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber— 
      This misty mid region of Weir— 
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber— 
      In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.” 
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Said we, then—the two, then—”Ah, can it 
      Have been that the woodlandish ghouls— 
      The pitiful, the merciful ghouls— 
To bar up our way and to ban it 
      From the secret that lies in these wolds— 
      From the thing that lies hidden in these wolds— 
Had drawn up the spectre of a planet 
      From the limbo of lunary souls— 
This sinfully scintillant planet 
      From the Hell of the planetary souls?” 

##Edgar Allan Poe

 

the Accused

Nineteen women, one man, held trial by hysteria, hearsay and ‘nonconformity’!  Not much has changed!

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It’s the spring of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts.  You’ve just been accused by “an afflicted girl” of being a witch.  The reason for the accusation against you might have been any from a long list of possibilities.  Perhaps you’re reclusive, talk to yourself, or exhibit some other form of eccentric behavior.  Perhaps you were involved in a previous dispute with the family of the afflicted girl.  Perhaps you don’t go to church, or go to the wrong church, or sided with the wrong faction in recent congregational strife within the Salem Village Church.  Perhaps you speak French or are suspected with having aided the Wabanakis in the recent Indian wars.  Or perhaps you expressed support for a recently accused witch or–worse yet–accused the accusers of lying.  Whatever the reason, you’re in big trouble now.  What do you do?  (Pick an option below).

  1. flee Salem
  2. Accuse someone else
  3. Get pregnant
  4. Confess, though, innocent
  5. Plead innocent and stand trial
  6. Refuse to stand and face dire consequences

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/dontstand.html

 

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Dancing in Wooden Shoes

 

Everything had been black and white.

Just as bleak and blank, as the tall tales we dispose.

Nothing so austere, as the languishing of our past…a memoir of we would soon…rather forget.

What is the character we want to be?

A thundering look over a chipped shoulder…to the masters, gives hint to all that we are pageantry.

 

I feel cut down from the gallows.

Low healed.

Clogged with raven’s feet in tow.

Call me,

Abigail, Sarah, Martha…it is all for show.

As of yesteryear, the wicked have found no rest.

As of now,…the wicked have swollen in the cloaked mess.

 

Spired gables…engrossed in mass hysteria.

All in the name of labels.

No, angels to see.

Just ruminations of you and me.

 

Sister Lelah’s No Fool Sunday

Sometime ’round the middle of December…95′ I believe it was.  The winds began to turn against us and have stayed that way ever since. It was then I beckoned to Sister Lelah,

Let’s call the whole thing off!  I can’t stand this cold it runs circles around my bunions and my dogs can’t sleep at night!”

Sister Lelah had always been the menacing-ly devote kind of refugee nun.  A toss back to the days where chastity was not a Bono and black was always that and a bag of chips!

Single handed-ly, Lelah, don’t call me, Lee, had put an end to the boy’s basketball team and their outings to the Monsignor‘s house.  Without remorse and/or backing from the Arch Bishop, Dick; Sister Lelah had made sure that the good ole Monsignor preached to a pulpit of prisoners down at Walpole State Prison and Chapel for the Criminally insane.

“Nope, Pat, I ain’t having it.  Joseph was the salt of the earth.  Buying his way into heaven like he done.  Donating tickets to the 4th of July fireworks on the common to the School for the Legally Blind.  What there’s no telling what the good can do.  Pulling up and dying like that on the toilet!   Inches from the Life Alert button.  The dear Lord has found himself another poker player up in the heavens!”

Silence sat all over the black cadillac.  Cars for catholics had come through on that one at least.  That Caddy could out run the devil.  Yet, the honking became a schizophrenic confession on my ears.  The toot, toot, toot and beep, beep, beep had followed us from the Rosary Rings Twice cafe’ all the way up the interstate.

Nevermind, my habits were always the choice topic of discussion in any road to nowhere I took with Lelah.  You should really learn to iron.  Bathing is not a sin.  Commoner’s wear gray and we are not commoners!

My drinking habit stopped nearly twelve years ago thanks to the Sister.  She found me behind the sacristy one Sunday afternoon.  Empty jug of Boone’s farm in one hand and the dear Christ our Savior’s cross in the other.  And, so it goes, nowadays I carry two big books.

Maybe it was destiny?  Maybe it had been the winds of Lucifer’s farts raining down on the shortcomings of us all.  Maybe it was just stupid and stubborn Irish ‘don’t know how’ that had brought Lelah and I to a high-speed road rage incident down on I-93 in the middle of the worse snowstorm since 1050 B.C.

Who knows?  Christ if I did?

“He’s on my trail again!  That friggin’ Yugo!  Every time I floor it and think I’ve got the lucky 7 on my side.  The little shit pulls up in the rearview mirror!”  Lelah had spat.

“Maybe it’s a sign.  And, on the seventh day he rose again.  Or, thy kingdom has come.  There’s talk of a doomsday you know?

What more could I have said?

Sure enough Sister Lelah had pulled up to the toll dividing those blurred lines.  The thin line between Saturday nights and Sunday mornings.  The attendant, a non catholic with no sign of remorse, smiling, grinning and calling the good Sister Lelah a saint from Hell; spoke just a few words.  Words that were signs of things to come.  Signs, signs, everywhere a sign!

“Sister, that boy ya’ out runnin’.  The one with the sticker that says, Mean People Suck!  The one who’s been chasin’ ya’all for ’bout ten miles.  He wants me to tell you somethin’.”

“May the good Lord take kindly to those who suffer from sin sir.  That is all I wish to say.”  Sister Lelah had stated and gestured with the sign of the cross.

“Welp, Sister, it seems you and your faith have gone and become flat.  As flat as the rear back tire.  And, Lord only knows it’s Sunday and there ain’t no heathen out in this weather.  And, there ain’t no Christian out working on the Sabbath!”