Mike Keith

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Original text in yellow, anagram in pink.

An anagram completed in 1999.

The Raven
(the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe)

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

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
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

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; -
This it is and nothing more."

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.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness 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.

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 heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my said fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour,
Nothing farther then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never - nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by Horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil,
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting -
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!


Once upon an April swelt'ring, as I blubbered, nearly melting,
Through my grandson's even-chambered house's small hartberry plot,
Damn! While pre-ill, bathtub-dreaming, all the evening housetops steaming,
Suddenly, pell-mell, I marveled, birth'd a little sunny thought.
"Let's go revelling," I ventured, "somewhere where it's ever not
So interminably hot!"

As I sat in thoughtful heaven, it was nineteen ninety seven;
(I remember this - it happened that Ralph's beaver ran away.)
Terribly I wished for cooling - season's cash I started pooling
"Let's," I thought, "repair to Devon seaside, even for a day.
Babbacombe this forenoon! - let us hobnob on the beach today!
Teignmouth, Bramble, or Torquay?"

I was then most promptly certain; son, I flung aside the curtain!
And I peered inside to see the wife, Lenore, in negligee.
"Very hot, it's hell" I muttered, then, brethren, I roughly uttered,
"Hell, Lenore, let's flee this burg, let's head South for a getaway!
I've in mind a day or mo' of harbor, maybe in Torquay?"
Then she muttered, "Um, why Torquay?"

Hot I quarreled (felon, sinner); finally I came a winner,
So we headed off in search of beach-naps there on Mother Day.
Bah! In tights, prayerlessly driving, something in my brain was jiving,
For nepenthe this mortal striving, over barren M-five roadway;
Here a simple statement - why was it still on my mind that day?
She had trembled, "Why Torquay?"

High-born, I must heave confession: software running's my profession.
So it's non-surprising that I tho't, bebothered, at the shore;
"Y Torquay" something suggested; in a trice my brain had belted:
"Y-to-k" we 'uld be having in three years and little more -
These clove-hooven nerds had only used two bytes the year to store!
Digits torment? Nevermore!

You might think that I got messed up, but I must admit and 'fess up -
All that I could see were thrills and fatter pots of revenue.
Fast as neon 'lectrons hop (how?): London! - open hence a shop now!
Load up, go about and make 'em tremble (hell-felt ballyhoo)!
Bent to make the whole world know... but first, to have an Irish stew.
Home, Lenore! - let's "entre nous".

Borne home north - bah! - to McDonald's, had a damn tell-fest with Ronald.
"Herb," I said, "you need me more than anyone that's dealt before."
Marvel! I'll your software patch up, manly as a squirt of ketchup!
If you laugh me off then I'll motor to your competitor!
Heed my grammar, or you'll have heartburn - hah, don't show me the door!
Thumbs, he hurled me from the store.

Tenth, I trod the local Chamber; "Commerce," I averred, "'s in danger.
We must halt yon system, else the government come crashing down!"
Then they sat in torrent, humming, not a syllable there mumming.
Then I tho't, "They're pondering the birth, man, of this little town!"
"Argh," they burp'd, "Who hears? What government?" and gave me a McFrown.
Hence they all grinned, evil-clown.

Then methought the hall grew denser (my harsh thought got bleeped by censor);
As I tartly left I pondered what approach I best should take.
"They don't know about computers, from their teachers or their tutors,
So perhaps I should connote disaster, evil, flood, earthquake."
"Rheum!" I thought, "that's it! I'll have them fear a terrible outbreak.
I'll give them a mammoth ache!"

So I started newly stumping (with a little Bible-thumping),
Telling everyone the world would rend unless they heeded me.
"Not mere home computers, people!" - this I said beneath the steeple -
There are several things that need a software patch, and rapidly."
"Listen, please," I raved, here sit some things that need AI rapidly,
Or there'll be catastrophe!"

"From propellor, runner, rollmop, propane burner or barn doorstop,
Sheep-shearing machine or thrinter, or this pronged biplanar fan:"
"Learn, indeed!", the rant continued, "everyone that's been north knows you'd
Better shelve these gadgets ere two thousand's post-meridian!
Death to revellers, for they will seek in vain for a CAT scan!
It will not work, nor will man!"

This might seem a little nervy, and you might entone me "scurvy",
But it worked far better than those terrors I had used before.
Thrum! My phones were always ringing - ever' month I spent a-singing
As I went about in search of things to add two digits more.
What a time in Greenwich! - men adored me like no one before.
I felt, then, as strong as Thor.

Think in this that I was greedy? I thought of myself as needy!
I imagined Northern living, stepping off of this rat race.
If I grooved my little (bleep) off, like that engineer named Kirkhoff,
Anon I'd bring forth a big nest egg, find a little northern place.
Me and her might settle down, might live the flannel life some place.
Maybe northern outer space?

So, I stepped up my endeavor - I was thriving, monstrous clever!
And I hired several helpers to assist me with my scheme.
"Now," I said, "I need a logo." - first I thought of the name "Gogo",
Since the "Waiting for Godot" plan seemed a rather fitting theme;
I won't tell how long I spent in this diverting midday dream -
Then I stopped for tea and cream.

Was I done then? No, sirree man! I got started planting oat bran,
'Cause you never know...hum...all the food around might disappear!
"One stop planning!" - so the ads ran - "Chips of both kinds, every corn, man!"
And the orders flooded in, for front-dried pond fish, fresh corn ears.
Bluebush, too, and canned goods guaranteed to last over a year.
Had to finger a cashier.

As the nineteen-nineties ended, and my bran account extended,
I decided after Y-to-k my ease was not years off.
So I started reading law books, hanging out in library nooks,
So that I could delve into the art of suing one's pants off.
Yes, for sure, I'll make a bundle sinning, sending pants right off!
I'll reap quite a big rip-off.

One day as I chomped on horn-backs, suddenly was anticlimax!
Y-to-k had come and gone then: nothing but a minor "hmph"!
I had merely one misgiving - that the Spice Girls still were living -
Otherwise, the Bronx survived; no terrors - everyone was well.
No apocalypse had come; it wasn't (darn!) a living hell.
Softly pealed th'veranda bell.

It's two thousand one - I'm spinning, in my parlor I am nestling,
Near a torrid bust of Turing just above my north throne door;
Every morn I'm merely thankful, that he helped to make my bank full
As I think of Thatcher, COBOL rooms, other damn dinosaurs;
And this life of leisure those contingents did to me outpour
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

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Updated: May 10, 2016


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