"The E-less Raven"

If you have read the Rivendell Reader or even some specific catalogs which they put out, you may have run across Grant Peterson's penchant for "E-less" writing. Way back when, he kicked off this contest by asking readers of The Reader to submit a reworking of the first verse of "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe - without using the letter "e". (There was a specific exception for "Lenore", as it was a proper name.)

The contest lay dormant after that for a bit, but emerged again recently (with RR#37) for the second verse. I was lucky enough to take a runner-up prize, so I was happy to see it continued with #38. At this rate, I should have enough to buy a Saluki Legolas Hilsen Legolas frameset in another, oh, 3 years or so... maybe more if the Readers are tardy.

It's kinda full-on literary geeking, but it is fun.

3/07 - Well - the results are in for the 3rd verse, and it looks like I finished out of the money... Oh well. Verse 4 awaits!

Update 4/08 - RR#40 arrived with the good news that my verse 4 got another runner-up position. Yay and on to Verse 5...

2/09 - Another finish in the money with RR#41 on the fifth verse. Goodie, goodie, goodie! Now, where's Verse 6?

"The Raven"
by Edgar Allen Poe
"The E-less Raven"
by Me

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 someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

No entry.

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
Surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore
Nameless here forevermore

Upon us looms a dank month found, within its days no blooms abound
Wood which burns now dying down, gasping glows cast light to floor
"Pray for dawn," I quickly say. "Distract my thoughts that too soon stray"
"Towards a girl I lost that day!" - how I miss that girl, L'nor
A singular saintly girl whom halo-folk call "L'nor"
Anonymous now, all sorrows soar.


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.
That it is, and nothing more."

Cascading curtains softly wafting, cracking air with sounds now lofting
Manic - panics from my not too distant past which I now fought
So to slow my blood from coursing, this aloud my mind was forcing,
"Causing calm's quick divorcing, what visitor wants now my thought?
"In causing calm's divorcing, 'tis a visitor wants my thought.
Without doubt, it is but naught."

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.

Sifting slowly through this pausing, past confusions of my causing
"Sir," said I, "or madam, could you grant a pardon if you might?"
For my mind was mildly drifting, through thoughts which I was sifting
Your faint knock hardly shifting, shifting wits off of my plight"
-- Moving quickly, door flung outward, looking hard, but naught in sight
Black abyss now shrouds this night.

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 darkness 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.

At black night now simply staring, shut my mind to stop this caring,
Hauting hallucinations hit, soon old horrors start to pour;
no sound could stop my thinking, nor my sad soul and brain from kinking,
Coiling back now as though shrinking from a murky word "Lenore!"
This from my lips, and again it sounds, a frightfull call, "Lenore!"
All this loss sits at my door.

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 heard be still a moment and this mystery explore:
'Tis the wind and nothing more."



I really should go back to the first verse and actually write one, but have remained reasonably lazy on that point. I'm pretty much transfixed by solving the whole problem of "Nevermore", the very specific and e-heavy utterance of the raven, which will repeat into the later verses.

But, that's the whole challenge, isn't it?





updated: February 25, 2009






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