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Toast the Raven
By Mark Angelillo
Once upon a late October, while I wandered, weak and sober,
Over many a quaint and spiritless road of some misbegotten shore —
While I plodded, hibernating — more, as if my soul were waiting,
As if it were ruminating, on what it was searching for,
"Tis not well enough," I muttered, "Only this and nothing more? —
Things must change, and what a chore!"
So, permit me to go over, it was in the bleak October;
And I did prepare and plan to move my life pursuing more.
Eagerly I wished for better; — plainly laid out to the letter
A design devoid of fetter — allowing me to leave the fore —
To start my journey by departing from my home be-fore
Nameless here, forevermore.
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Right!" said I, but then backtracking, "Can this life be so abhorred?"
But the fact is, it was lacking; my impatience sure was stacking,
"So it's time I've started packing, packing halfway out the door!
And I'll move my home to Brooklyn" — here I'm fully out the door
Leaving footprints, nothing more.
Here in Brooklyn I did putter, when, at my own humble shutter,
In there stepped a drunken raven, of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; he was far too hammered, maybe,
But with gassed expression laid he, right above my chamber door.
Perched upon a bust of Kohlberg, just above my chamber door,
Perched to void, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my production into idling,
By the plowed and plastered impert'nence of the foul wind that it tore,
"Though you do invade my haven thou," I said, "art sure no maven,
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, of drinking like a boar.
Tell me what the haps is, man, I really do implore."
Quoth the raven, "Have one more."
Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
And its answer so much meaning, so much relevancy bore;
For I couldn't help agreeing as the raven started peeing
That I should be drinking with this bird above my chamber door
So I downed a beer and checked the thing above my chamber door,
Who responded, "Have one more."
Now the raven still beguiling my production into idling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned lounge in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to drinking
And each glass confirmed by clinking with this ominous bird's of yore —
Liquor, wine, and beer with soused and ominous bird of yore
Who kept croaking, "Have one more."
Then, me thought, the room was swimming, and it seemed the lights were dimming
Ruled by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Hey!" I cried, "I think I'm blasted — and these bottles sure have lasted
And been respite — respite and nepenthe from my memories of Swarthmore!
Quaff, o quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Swarthmore!"
Quoth the raven, "Have one more!"
And the raven, never flitting, still is bidding, still is bidding
Me to consume booze at rates I've never hit before;
And his eyes have all the glazing of a frat guy's that is hazing.
And the fumes above him streaming like some nebula perdure;
And my soul from out this cloud that floats above the floor
Shall be sober — nevermore!