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Ravens Lore and History


On the First day,


    I watch the tails of the whips
    as they rise and fall,
    the pale faces surrounding me
    riveted toward the stage,
    ears pricked forward,
    any one of them could be the ones in the show.
    The slaves, the masters,
    the dominatrices....
    My silver nails clash with their blackened hands
    the chain mail embracing the back of my hand,
    cooling it,
    the chill of death they so long to feel.
       I turn my back to the stage
       and walk out the door, 
       into the wastelands.
       I am no longer one of you
       I wonder
       why I ever was.
       My heart is heavy
       as stone.
       I walk 
       into the desolate ruins of a friendship.
       Friends have become sinister foes;
       the gauntlet is thrown down,
       the battle of powers has begun
       and I laugh. I laugh
       like a maniac
       for I know I have won.
       I walk on through the trees
       my black velvet cloak 
       collects pine needles from the earthen floor.
       I come to the crossroads, 
       bodies piled in heaps,
       fires lick their gnawed bones
       and I inhale the scent,
       the stench of graves
       of the recently buried dead.
       But the red wind of the hills
       leads me to an oak
       ageless as time itself.
       I embrace the trunk and wrap the branches around me
       and he judges me.
       On the left side of the tree
       is the full light of the moon
       and soon 
       it will shine full in my face.
       A bat flits by and lands on my outstretched fingertip,
       the raven lands on my shoulder 
       cawing out his name “Fiach Fiach.”
       Mac Ti/re approaches me
       the son of the land sniffs my hand
       and sits back on his haunches, approves.
       The gnawed bones reappear around him
       he becomes a vision of skeleton
       the bare bones of a wolf
       and he looks to the north
       and I see, for the first time,
       the full moon appear in his eyes.
       This black dog, hearkens me to depart.
       Reluctantly, I send the raven and the bat away
       and lay my hand on his head,
       the coal black sky begins to brighten
       and slowly, 
       I see the moon emerge 
       once again.
       Gypsies, fairies and prophets 
       voice their thoughts in my mind,
       my eyes accustomed once again to the night
       I set off in search of my lover.
       Echoes of waterfalls play with my ears.
       Helpful voices try to guide me;
       try to drown out the lunatics that try to 
       lead me astray.
       The path to wisdom lies before me,
       I realize this when I stop to listen
       to the lunacy in my ears.
       My snake appears once again 
       round my neck
       and my spider and gecko come to me
       with love in their eyes.
       When dawn comes, she will
       spirit me away
       and as the phoenix,
       I will be reborn 
       and join with my lover again.
                    Wendy Gresh    9-23-96

On the Second Day,

He stood upon the hill his sword drawn but resting at his side. Looking into the glen below and his heart bled. He and a raven in the distance were all that stood, all that would see the dawns blessing of a new day. The battle now a distant sound of torment and death. How many had he consigned to hell? And, were they now waiting there for him...holding that place that was his? How many times had he seen the noble and good pass beyond? How many times a youth turned hero turned corpse? The battle cries still ringing in his head. The sounds of men and metal and death, still alive in his eyes. The blood of brother, friend and kin running into the soil. Mixing with the blood of so many clansmen before them. The land would still be their's, but to what cost.

He stood silent and still for so long a time. A statue upon the hill, a warrior now without a battle. They had kept their land, retained that which had belonged to all those before them. But, had they won? He looked out to the hills covered with the bodies of his clan's men. Gone. Resting now forever on that land they so quickly went to death for. No...they had not won. He dropped his weapon to the ground and went to his knees. Pushing his hand deeply into the soil that was at his feet, pulling up a fist of dirt and grass. Raising it to the sky, he let out a mighty battle cry one last time. The land was their's, the soil rich and soon ready for planting. There were so few left to bury the seeds. Rising he was determined to not let those that had enriched the soil with their blood and their bodies, have given all in vain.

Soon the the others would come. He would take what was left of his clan and rebuild again. Those few that had been left behind for protection and the families of those slain upon the ground before him, would again rebuild. Reaching for the sword in the dirt beside him he stood. One last warrior left to face the dawn. He would remember those before him. Sing into the mists their names. Their valor, their honor and their sacrifice...will be breathed upon the breath of each child that was left behind.

The single soldier upon the hill turned and behind him the sun rose... bringing light into the darkness...and warmth to the cold. And yet he shivered.

Written by: Lexie Marie -


On the Third Day,

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
                                Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
                                Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
                               This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
                               Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
                               Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
                               'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
                               Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
                              Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                              With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
                              Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                             Of 'Never- nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
                             Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
                            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
                            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
                            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
                            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
                            Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                            Shall be lifted- nevermore!
"Nevermore," at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone, and in length about one
hundred lines. Now, never losing sight of the object supremeness, or perfection, at all points, I asked myself--
"Of all melancholy topics, what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most
melancholy?" Death--was the obvious reply. "And when," I said, is the most melancholy of topics most
poetical?" From what I have already explained at some length, the answer, here also, is obvious-- "When it
most closely allies itself to beauty: the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical
topic in the world--and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such a topic are those of a
bereaved lover."

From Edgar Allan Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition," which was first published in Graham's Magazine, April, 1846.

On the Fourth Day,

The Ravens Manor

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