Oracle Sunday on Eulora

Saturday, 25 July, Year 7 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu
Just right now, a minute early, while I pondered, sullen, surly,
Atop reports piled in piles, each extracted by some whore —
    As I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping through my palace floor.
“’Tis some bureaucrat,” I muttered, “tapping through my palace floor—
            Only this and nothing more.” 

    How distinctly I remember every promise to dismember...
As each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor,
    Every promise to be thorough - vainly they had sought to borrow
    From the East surcease of sorrow for the lost empire of yore —
For that rare and radiant wonder which was here, which is now hoare
            Which lies dead forevermore. 

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me at the sight of horrors "no one could have thought" before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance through my palace floor—
Some late visitor entreating entrance through my palace floor;—
            This it is and nothing more.” 

    And with that my patience ended; to the cellars I descended
"Who still moves!" I screamed in anger at the piles of writhing gore
"Who still dares, and for that matter who still has the strength for rapping!"
	Opera is mandatory - never rapping! Underneath my palace floor!
    But the tools all lay in silence as I glared below my floor -
            Darkness there and nothing more. 

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, sneering,
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, “adore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Adore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more. 

    Back into my chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping - somewhat louder than before.
    Said a guard with guarded figure - "Seems to be the window lattice";
    And I bid them go and see then, and this mystery explore —
While my heart was still a moment, contemplating a world war
            "Tis the wind and nothing more!"

    Open quickly flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven, its beak covered in Lenore;
    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 darken bird beguiling my sad 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 Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    Much I marvelled at this wonder - 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 I've seen it done 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,
I had wheeled a cushioned seating just in front of bird, 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 very 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,
            Held no thought, ah, nevermore! 

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, as perfumed from unseen censer
Swung by Succubi whose hooves 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 war;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget the flags you wore!”
            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 the gold we both deplore—
    Tell this soul with burdens laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    If from gutters of some maidan the red star will raise to score
If on wings of doom or devil, laden with retards forever...
            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!

To spread misery and horror - this coming Sunday, after the Sun sets (somewhere) me and my trustless raven shall visit the land, and in exchange for tokens of sacrifice pithily answer a question for each.

Come prepared - for what you will find is never quite what you thought you will!

Category: S.MG
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6 Responses

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