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Quoth the poet who didn’t even know it

February 26, 2009
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I just read a book written in what I believe is called lyrical free verse, and it got me thinking about poetry as a whole. I never really “got” poetry, as in I have no idea what makes a good poem good, or a bad poem bad – but I do know what I like and don’t like. And I have written enough awful poetry to know that I am no natural poet.  There are a few poems that I like, and if we are considering song lyrics to be poems, then there are plenty that I absolutely love – but as for reading a book of poetry? I just don’t see it happening.

Most of what I read somehow gets lost somewhere between my short and long term memory, and often only an imprint or small phrase will remain – I remember how I felt about a poem, or one or two quick lines that must have struck some chord with me.

Except for Annabel Lee.

I don’t know if its just because it was one of the first poems I remember discussing in school, or because my inner goth loves Poe, or it’s the rhyme scheme, or just the awesomely creepy imagery about mourning a child bride based on a real life dead child bride – but it’s one of my favorites.  For your enjoyment, here it is:

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

What poems get stuck in your head? Are there poets that you are amazed I am not already in love with?  Lyrics that get stuck in your head and give you chills, no matter what?

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