Edgar Allan Poe

Spirits of the Dead

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 30th of October 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

On the eve of Halloween, we read and discussed the poem, Spirits of the Dead, by Edgar Allen Poe, as well as delving into the origins of the festival. You will be surprised to hear what Halloween may bring you if you live in Ireland.

If you are having difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this programme, please press the arrow on the left of the sound bar below.

 

Spirits of the Dead

I
Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

II
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

III
The night, tho’ clear, shall frown—
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

IV
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more—like dew-drop from the grass.

V
The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

Edgar Allan Poe

 

Is Poetry a Crime?

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Photo Image: Davy D

A strange question to start this week’s poetic pondering, but please bear with me on this one.

The question was posed when I visited a bookshop in my local town a few days ago and decided to have a look in the poetry section. After a long while searching I eventually found a scant collection of poetry books and,to my horror, discovered they were listed under the category CRIME (the photo at the head of this post is evidence of the said misdemeanour).

Now I know some of my poetry offerings have bordered on criminal, but to take things to this level is an attack on poetic liberties. When did poetry become a crime?

I tracked down the manager of the store and gave him an opportunity to explain this apparent change in legislation. Apart from a shrug of his shoulders and a few ineligible grunts he was unable to shed any light on the matter.

When I returned home I went through my police service archives and at no point did I ever arrest anyone for the offence of poetry, or remember being called to give evidence in a case of poetic injustice. A search on the internet did provide reference to a book by Michael Connelly called, The Poet, where a serial killer leaves excerpts of Edgar Allan Poe poems at the scenes of his murders, but that’s just fiction.

So please poets, keep a watchful eye when going about your daily poetry business. It seems there may be something sinister afoot.

If you see or hear about any similar attempts to criminalise poetry, please let me know.

Poetic Motivations:29

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