Friday, January 23, 2009

Poe Fridays

Kristen at We Be Reading is hosting a new weekly event - Poe Fridays! Here's what she says:

I'm sure that everyone has heard of "Poetry Fridays" but have you heard of "Poe Fridays"? No? Well, welcome to Poe Fridays! In honor of Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday on January 19, I decided to set up a goal to read Poe weekly for at least the next year. Poe has 73 tales and a couple dozen poems so there is plenty of material to choose from. This isn't a challenge but more of an opportunity. Each Friday I will discuss a Poe short story or poem and post the title for the following week. You can either stop by to learn more about Poe's genius or you can read along and post your comments and/or links on each week's post. I think this year is a great time to turn more readers into Poe fans.

Since this is our first week, she has given us an easy assignment - the poem "A Dream Within A Dream." It's not very long, so I'll reprint it below:

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow --
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand --
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep -- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

What a beautiful, tragic, heartbreaking poem. This is the kind of poetry I love - beautiful in the initial reading, and then beautiful again as we delve into the meaning behind the words. And the meanings - well, there can be many. This could be about a man mourning for his lost love, with the kiss upon the brow, and the sorrowful parting. This could be the raging of someone watching his dreams shatter, and realizing the futility of his life. It's a poem that can be related to, even if your life hasn't been especially horrible, because who hasn't that that moment of wondering if their own little existence really does matter, or if it will just fade away, a dream within a dream?

It was a great choice to start this project! Next week's selection will be the poem "Annabel Lee". If you'd like to journey through Poe with us, stop by We Be Reading and add your link.


Kristen M. said...

Thanks for joining Poe Fridays! I loved your thoughts on this poem. It reminded me of my high school days when a break-up or a missed opportunity was the end of the world ... well, the end of my world!

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Funny to see Poe mentioned here. I'm currently in Richmond, VA for a day or two and noticed that there is a large Poe museum here....I'm trying to find it before I have to leave!

I love his work!