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.”
It was actually us tapping at the door, the bird was already inside.
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.”
It did make us all smile.
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.”
More ominous than I had expected ...
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 lamp-light 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!
Our friend Barb is a veterinary nurse. And this is one of her patients. It seems the owner needed a bird sitter and Barb readily accepted the job. She invited us over to visit (and I had just put crab cakes in the oven!). As you can see, rather than sit on old statues, this raven preferred sitting on humans. A very friendly bird.
Although for some reason it did not like my eyes!
It pecked at my eyes on multiple occasions. I don't know why. It had no interest in anyone else's eyes. Only mine.
Where is my dinner jacket ...
Eventually we became drinking buddies, enjoying wine ...
One of my many talents ...
... and cheese. (Although it seemed to mistake my ears for cheese all too often ...)
This is not the species of raven Mr. Poe would be familiar with. This is a white-naped raven, an African native, one that we saw there on our recent trip. It is not at all clear how this bird came to be a pet in New Jersey. And rather then nevermore, this bird was prone to asking, "what?". Repeatedly.
Images of yours truly courtesy of Patty Rehn.
Verse from The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.