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Again and Alone

J. Scott Smith

I gave a man my poem to see,
and glancing quickly over said he,
"Someone's a Poe fan, I see."
Then passed it back, his trump played.

How he knew might be hard to say,
except Poe painted Poe this way,
and his vision, decades away,
revealed not only self, but me.

October 2011

Alone

by Edgar Allen Poe

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 lov'd -- I lov'd alone --
Then -- in my childhood -- in the dawn
Of a most stormy life -- was drawn
From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still --
From the torrent, or the fountain --
From the red cliff of the mountain --
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold --
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by --
From the thunder, and the storm --
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view --

Alone published posthumously in 1875
Poe penned a poem, Alone, that was not published until 1875, some 26 years after his death. The history of the piece is unclear, including the time it was written. There is some disagreement as to whether the piece was finished, as the punctuation indicates there was to be more, and there is not the typical Poe conclusion. Some, however, endorse the theory this was intentional.
I don't concern myself with those things. The poem whole or the poem fragment, written early or written late, still speaks to me. Beyond the simple attraction to the style of Poe that I feel with other pieces, in this one piece I feel a sense of kinsmanship.
My part, the first two stanzas here, tell the story rather well. I showed a piece of my work, The Sirens of Shadows Dark, to a stranger, and he gave me his opinion. This guy had now way of knowing what I do or don't like, so to toss out "Somone's a Poe fan" was just plain spooky.
Not in a supernatural way, but in a complementary one. One that says, "Dude, you wrote something Poe-like!"
[jss, December 2011]
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