Quoth The Raven

After a particularly long and stressful week, I decided there was exactly one thing I wanted to do last night: go see The Raven.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Edgar Allan Poe. The 19th century dark poet and author was one whose work I treasured in high school because I tended to favor the romantic lyricism of his work, as well as his gory imagination. I admit that my previously shared flair for the dramatic didn’t hurt my fascination with the man, either.

So, walking into the theatre, this deep adoration had me hoping James McTeigue’s direction of The Raven would delight me as much as Roland Emmerich’s did in Anonymous last year (great movie, if you haven’t checked it out yet). Though I think the cinematography of The Raven was lovely—the period thriller is set in 1849 Baltimore, a time of colorful and decadent wardrobes, quaint horse-drawn carriages, and bleakly dark cobblestone streets—and the concept was clever, the movie did not quite meet my expectations. The admirable John Cusack seemed believable as a goateed Poe at first, but I soon found myself put off by some of his attempts to speak in the style of his character. In all honesty, I think most of the actors came across that way—their acting seemed fine, but something about their dialogue didn’t click. In Anonymous, I never felt uncomfortable with or aware of the actors’ Shakespearean dialects; here, I felt everyone struggled, spending more of their focus on attempting to command the romantic language than acting their parts. Blood spewing violence aside, I felt the movie had a unique idea that could have been a little bit clearer, and perhaps needed more depth.

Fortunately, I have a knack for enjoying most movies, even those that leave a bad taste in my mouth. Despite my criticism of The Raven, I did find some prettiness embedded in it—namely, the frequent quoting of Poe’s stories as he connected the serial killer to his artistry. If for no other reason, I enjoyed the movie for bringing Poe’s language to the screen and into the ears of a new audience.

Now for some fun: mesh a flair for the dramatic with a love of Poe and a 14-year-old girl, and what do you get? Some really over-the-top poetry. When I arrived home last night, I remembered Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven” once inspired an intensely mad work of my own. Since it’s always good to poke some fun at oneself, and for your amusement, I thought I’d share a piece that a 14-year-old me wrote for a high school English class—and which my teacher found so dramatic, he actually read it aloud to the class, complete with wild hand gestures…Oh boy. Hold on tight, folks, there’s some real teen angst in this one:

Madness

Alas!

What brought it on?

Was it the anguish inside or

Was it the torture on the outside?

Did the cold nights of loneliness

With the terrible insomnia

Of the pain for tomorrow

Bring it about?

Was it rejection, and the feelings

You threw harshly at me?

Maybe it was blackness

That burnt through my window,

Burning until nothing was left

But a shriveled, diminutive

Shell of what I had once been,

Forcing me into eternal insanity.

You laugh at the torture

I must withstand,

But oh!

How you bring it on, let it continue.

Stop this pain you cause me!

Don’t laugh!  No!

Hold me!  Love me!

Be as you once were.

Halt your squalid words,

Your painful ideas.

Don’t grin at me;

So insolent and deluding.

Deceiving and conniving,

Stop it!  Please!

You’re calloused and shrewd.

What caused it?

And in your insinuating actions,

Your insubordinate ways,

Do you realize a

Part of me tears away?

I’m going mad.

You caused it.

You’ve torn my heart to shreds, but

You keep laughing

With your gimlet eyes

Shooting impetuous hatred

My way.

Why?

The pain is

Causing me great

Indignation.

So stop!

You’ve pinioned me against

A wall of thorns

And you won’t release me

Until…

You won’t tell me either!

Stop it, please!

My will to live is gone!

I don’t exist.

I’m just not here.

Stop!

It won’t be long.

You’ve killed my heart,

You’ve killed my soul.

You keep on killing

And you won’t let go.

Your passion to

Hurt me

Is driving me mad;

I’m declining

In more ways than one.

I’m nautious

With your treatment;

Steadily vomiting your putrid

Love out of my system.

But it won’t all leave.

No, it’s still there,

But covered with your madness.

Your madness

My madness,

You’ve given it to me

Like a plague, a disease.

I’m crying out,

Unplug your ears

I love you, please!

I’ve lost my will

I can’t hold on

Save me from this death

You’ve left me mad and insane.

And now…

I’m gone.

***

Wow. There’s probably a reason I switched to fantasy and contemporary fiction instead of poetry… 🙂

If you would like to read more about Edgar Allan Poe, please check out the Edgar Allan Poe Museum or PoeStories.com. You can also read more of Poe’s work at PoetryLovers.com.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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About Eva Rieder

Eva Rieder is a speculative and contemporary/mainstream fiction author. By day, she masquerades as a high school Math and English teacher. Though she adores teaching and her students very much, when Eva returns home she reglues her fingertips to the keyboard to pursue her alter ego’s destiny. She currently lives and writes in Northern California with her two keyboard-savvy cats. View all posts by Eva Rieder

4 responses to “Quoth The Raven

  • rebeccaoftomorrow

    I will take your review into consideration! My hubby wants to go, and although I love the works of Poe, I’m not a big horror fan. I’ll let you know what we decide.

    • Eva Rieder

      It’s more of a thriller than a horror, but there is definitely some bloody gore…be prepared. It sure is pretty to look at though. Enjoy it if you go! And thank you for reading. 🙂

  • Vanessa Grassi

    Thanks for the review. I’m still curious to see it especially since not only am I a Poe fan but I love John Cusack too. I’ll have to wait until I can rent it though.

    Thanks for sharing your old poem. I think its funny how many of us were poets in HS but you are far braver than I am. I won’t even look at what I wrote back then lol!

    • Eva Rieder

      Hi Vanessa. I do think it was better on the big screen visually—unless you have a great tv, that is. Something about the colors and the scenery would be missed on a regular tv. Still, the dialogue was lacking. As for the poem—yeah, I wrote a lot of dramatic poetry back then. Hilarious when we look back at what we crafted…and for some reason, I’ve kept all of it. All! 🙂 (Maybe I like a good laugh??)

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