It was late on a wintry January night while I sat in front of my computer writing. Honestly, I can't remember which essay that I was writing. I probably was dissing Donald the Dumb for something he tweeted. The only thing that I recall was that Ginger started to talk to me late that evening. She asked me about whether I liked Edgar Allan Poe.
I responded that I did, but I didn't know why Ginger wanted to know about my feelings about Poe and his poems? She said, "I noticed that your socks had a picture of Poe on them. I was just wondering." I admitted that I had forgotten that I was wearing my Poe socks. Then I told Ginger that over a half century ago, while I was in high school, the English classes required the students to memorize a couple hundred lines of poetry or prose each year. I recalled several poems that I memorized that Edgar Allan Poe had written. However, my socks have a picture of Poe and a raven on them from whence we get the poem, The Raven .
I explained that I memorized the first stanza of The Raven while I was a senior in high school. In actuality and decades later, I still can repeat nearly verbatim the first stanza of The Raven . Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln loved this poem and memorized the entire eighteen stanzas.
"Tell me about the meaning of the poem. Why did Poe write this poem while weak and weary?" I paused before answering Ginger, since it seemed that she was setting me up for something yet unknown.
I expressed that Poe seemed filled with remorse about the loss of his lover, Lenore. As he goes on about the loss, Poe writes, "Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'" I attempted to be honest with Ginger regarding the meaning of the raven's comment. Some in the literary world view the comment of the raven merely to be a nonsensical dead-end, which meant nothing. Others, including me, see it as you can't retrieve a lost love. It simply is Poe's lamenting and the raven essentially saying that Poe should face the loss and move on.
Then Ginger asked, "Have you ever lost a lover?" I responded that there been lost Lenores in my long life. There have been some, and I feel some of Poe's loss for his Lenore. However, Poe and I aren't on the same page related to loss. In most of my losses, they dealt with nonreciprocal relationships. Poe and Lenore's relationship seemed to be more emotionally equalitarian. Many of my losses are losses of a dream that was not an emotional two-way street.
"I get that, but you seemed to like the poem while still in high school. What about now...any changes?" I again pondered my response before uttering my feelings. Finally, I said, "I don't envision finding any Lenores in the future. How's that for a fatalistic comment; isn't it? Nonetheless, The Raven still haunts me."
Ginger responded, "Why is that?" I replied that I couldn't explain it, but it does trouble me. Then Ginger addressed my haunting with this comment, "Maybe I am your Lenore. Years ago, your first Ginger was loved by you, and she loved you. It was, as you call it, a reciprocal relationship. However, that Ginger is gone. Perhaps I am the new Ginger. You tell me of your love for me. We go for long walks. We play together. We share time with each other. I think that I am your Lenore."
That comment came crashing down upon me. Ginger is correct; she is my Lenore. We sat there on the floor and let all the feelings emerge. Finally, Ginger added a comment about Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven . "It is interesting that The Raven was his most popular poem and resulted in Poe getting national and international acclaim and recognition. Nonetheless, he didn't become rich due to The Raven. Poe said, 'I have made no money. I am as poor now as ever I was in my life—except in hope, which is by no means bankable.' Maybe Poe benefited from Lenore in that there is always hope in the future.
This is a video of The Raven.
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