He was a goodly spirit – he who fell:

A wanderer by moss-y-mantled well –

A gazer on the lights that shine above –

A dreamer in the moonbeam by his love:

What wonder? for each star is eye-like there,

A looks so sweetly down on Beauty’s hair;

And they, and ev’ry mossy spring were holy

To his love-haunted heart and melancholy.

Al Aaraaf, E.A Poe 1829

Poe. The Laurel Poetry Series. Published by Dell Publishing. First printing March 1959. This fourth printing, November 1962. Cover drawing by Richard Powers.

A rather lovely little book of the complete poems by Poe, along with an introduction, chronology and notes by the editor Richard Wilbur.

Like most geniuses, Poe didn’t think much of his poetry, describing his verse collections as ‘trifles’ and, though he loved writing poetry, the need to actually earn a living meant most of his energy was spent on editorials and prose fiction. 

The above excerpt is taken from Poe’s longest poem, Al Aaraaf, first published in 1829, which he claims to have written when he was just 15 years old. I thought it’d be fun to quote since (obviously) this is where the title of my blog came from. What I love best about Poe’s writing is the open spaces he creates in my head, the slip-streaming of my own imaginings through and around his words, luring me into a different realm than the one I started reading from. Spellbinding stuff I guess.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Poe old bean, and here’s wishing for an afterlife as flowingly dreamy as the one you’ve conjured here.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am an ardent fan of Poe too. He is, one of my favourite writers and poet. His lucid flow of words weaving in and weaving out into a tapestry of fantastical delight brings me a deep sense of ease and comfort in a way that i long to read one of his poems if i haven’t done that in a while.
    My favourite Poe poems are Annabell Lee, Evening Star, A Dream Within a Dream and The Raven. I have enjoyed reading The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and The Pendulum & The Fall of the House of Usher. I am sure you have read all of this and more! Thank you for sharing your thoughts of Poe. Enjoyed it thoroughly. I am now going to find “Al Aaraaf” to read : )

    • Hi Odzer and thanks for stopping by. I really like what you say about Poe’s poetry, it’s true with me too – Poe is a writer I need to read and re-read again and again and again! Hope you’re enjoying Al Aaraaf as much as I am 🙂

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