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
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.