One thing I noticed almost immediately when I moved to Seattle was that there are an extraordinary number of crows in this city. They're everywhere. And they always make me think of the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. And since it's a creepy poem and we're closing in on Halloween, this seemed like as good a time as any to post about "The Raven."
(Before I go on, I'll make a feeble attempt at tying this post in with the Catholic theme of this blog.) Though he was baptized in the Episcopal Church and was not, I don't think, very religious, Poe once wrote and published quite a lovely piece called "A Catholic Hymn," which is addressed to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here it is:
At morn -- at noon -- at twilight dim --
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe -- in good and ill --
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine!
Anyway, back to "The Raven." Most kids are forced to study this poem in school at some point, but in my opinion it's one of those poems that should just be enjoyed without too much analysis. I think the majority of my generation has seen the James Earl Jones-narrated version of the poem on The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror special, which is excellent. Unfortunately, it's a little abridged, so you miss out on some of the story.
Luckily, there's an awesome film version of the entire poem, made in 1963 and starring the ridiculous Vincent Price, which I highly recommend. Here it is: