October 9, 2014

Poetry Friday--Me & Mr. Poe


When I created the haiga, posted this past Sunday, I didn't realize that the posting date would coincidentally be the day of the unveiling of a new Edgar Allan Poe statue in Boston, and that it was two days prior to the 165th anniversary of the death of Poe (October 7, 1849). But, when I found out (thanks to my favorite NPR station, WBUR in Boston), I decided to take it as a sign to write a little about me and Edgar Allan Poe.

I have fond memories of the Saturday afternoon matinees (admission price, 25 cents) that I often attended with my friend, Nancy Hubbard. One of the movies I remember seeing is House of Usher, starring Vincent Price, which is, of course, based upon "The Fall of the House of Usher." The film came out in 1960, which is about the same year I was in 4th grade. I think, too, that it was my 4th grade teacher who read the Poe stories.



I don't much care for scary movies now (I think the last one I willingly sat through was The Shining in 1980), I wonder if the Poe movies had any influence on that?

Also, when I was in elementary school, I remember a college student came into our classroom to talk to us. She told us about a course she was taking in etymology (word origins). For some reason I thought it was wonderful--who knew you could learn such interesting stuff in college? (When I took a etymology course in college, I'm sorry to say, it was a big snore. Nothing at all about the nitty-gritty of word origins. It was more about the history of the English language.)

I've always been interested in words it seems, and one of the first poems that sticks out in my mind was Poe's "The Bells," with it's "tintinnabulation." What a musical word! Here's the first two stanzas of the poem.
The Bells

I
Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

I don't much care for any of the other Poe poems I've read, and I don't believe I've read any Poe stories after college, but I sure think my early experience with Poe has been imprinted on my psyche! For better or for worse.

This week the Round-Up has a change of venue and Tricia will be hosting at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Tricia shared a great zombie poem a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, I highly recommend you check it out here.




10 comments:

  1. As for the Poe stories, I found my middle school students loved reading them too. I always thought they were (to them) so farfetched that they were just pleasure, not too scary, especially compared to today's horrors. This poem, that 'tintinnabulation' word is lovely on the tongue, I think. I enjoyed your own haiga, too, Diane.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I have a low tolerance for scary. I'm sure today's horror fiction is way more than I could stand!

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  2. I loved all the Poe stories when I was a teen. The House of Usher trailer looks scary to me -- I am easily creeped out. Recently I was trying to remember the last time I went to a haunted house, and I think it was about 15 years ago. That was enough!

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    1. Haunted houses, also not my cup of tea!

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  3. Poe's poems and stories made a big impression on me when I was in school. Of course we had to memorize "The Raven." I found his stories fascinating and compelling rather than scary -- of course these days I'm much more of a scaredy cat and probably wouldn't want to watch "The House of Usher" if I were home alone. :)

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    1. Compelling is a good description, Jama. We never had to memorize poetry when I attended elementary school, I'm kind of sorry for it.

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  4. I don't like "scary" so much as unnerving and for me, Poe's good for that. When it comes to movies, though? I definitely keep my distance.

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    1. Give me a good old happy book or movie any day! I actually did two posts this week on happy movies at Kurious Kitty.

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  5. Diane, I absolutely love the word tintinnabulation as it rolls around on my tongue and brings to mind a sensory experience. Timing is right for the trailer to "The House of Usher." I loved watching this show as a youngster and still do now.

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    1. Some words are just meant for speaking aloud--tintinnabulation, buzzing, mopsical, erubescent, melodious, chatoyant, etc.

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