Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1-19-11 Poe's 202

It's Edgar A. Poe's 202nd birthday. The last time the mystery visitor visited him in the cemetery was his 200th and it would appear the man in the hat who has been visiting him each year for 60 years will not be coming back.

How sad. How Poe.

He's always been a favorite of mine, ever since Mammammy read me "The Tell-Tale Heart" when I was little. I loved teaching his short stories. I could probably launch into lecture mode any second now thinking about the brilliance of "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

Edgar was in his mother's room at the age of two when she died of tuberculosis; he watched his foster mother (whose husband refused to formally adopt him) die of the same disease before he was 20; and when he was 27 he married his 13 year old cousin Virginia and made a home for her and her widowed penniless mother for more than a decade, the three of them huddled together against the storm of the world until his wife died of, you guessed it, TB, when she was just 24.

Can you possibly blame the man for being morbid?

He died mysteriously, at the age I am now, lost, inexplicably delirious in the streets of Baltimore, remained incoherent and raving at ghosts for four days before dying.

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.


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