Poem of the Week: “For Annie”

* * * A CONFESSION * * *

For a long time, I avoided the works of Edgar Allan Poe, convinced that I could never like anything as dark and dreary as his works. When I actually read them, though, I found out that Poe was a genius, especially when it comes to writing poetry. “The Raven” is still my favorite of his poems, but this is a very close second.

“For Annie”
by Edgar Allan Poe

Thank Heaven! the crisis,
The danger, is past,
And the lingering illness
Is over at last—
And the fever called “Living”
Is conquered at last.

Sadly, I know
I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
As I lie at full length—
But no matter!—I feel
I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
Might fancy me dead—
Might start at beholding me,
Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,
The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
With that horrible throbbing
At heart:—ah, that horrible,
Horrible throbbing!

The sickness—the nausea—
The pitiless pain—
Have ceased, with the fever
That maddened my brain—
With the fever called “Living”
That burned in my brain.

And oh! of all tortures
That torture the worst
Has abated—the terrible
Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
Of Passion accurst:—
I have drank of a water
That quenches all thirst:—

Of a water that flows,
With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
Feet under ground—
From a cavern not very far
Down under ground.

And ah! let it never
Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy
And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
In a different bed—
And, to sleep, you must slumber
In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit
Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
Regretting, its roses—
Its old agitations
Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly
Lying, it fancies
A holier odor
About it, of pansies—
A rosemary odor,
Commingled with pansies—
With rue and the beautiful
Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,
Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
And the beauty of Annie—
Drowned in a bath
Of the tresses of Annie.

She tenderly kissed me,
She fondly caressed,
And then I fell gently
To sleep on her breast—
Deeply to sleep
From the heaven of her breast.

When the light was extinguished,
She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
To keep me from harm—
To the queen of the angels
To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,
Now, in my bed,
(Knowing her love)
That you fancy me dead—
And I rest so contentedly,
Now in my bed
(With her love at my breast).
That you fancy me dead—
That you shudder to look at me,
Thinking me dead:—

But my heart it is brighter
Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
For it sparkles with Annie—
It glows with the light
Of the love of my Annie—
With the thought of the light
Of the eyes of my Annie.

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7 thoughts on “Poem of the Week: “For Annie”

    1. “The Bells”! I knew there was another Edgar Allan Poe I had read before, but I couldn’t remember what it was! That one was really great. I love the way Poe’s poems roll along like a song.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What’s your favourite poem of all time?
    And how do you know if you like a poem? The words,the tone,or the theme?
    Do you recite it mentally?

    I’m asking all these,because I would like to better appreciate poetry,and you seem to know an awful lot about it. 🙂

    Like

    1. First of all, thanks for all the questions. 🙂 Second, lest I mislead you, I’m really a novice to poetry myself. I only started reading it in earnest some time last summer. Before that, I might read a stray poem here and there, but I knew almost nothing about meter, rhythm, metaphor, or anything like that. I will try to answer your questions as best as I can, though.

      First, I’m not sure if I can pick a favorite poem. I guess I would have to say John Milton’s Sonnet 23, because that was the poem that got me to really start caring about poetry. I suppose what impressed me about it is the fact that Milton was able to communicate such deep, raw emotion while still obeying a very strict form. Also, I sort of love the paradox he poses in the last line. It’s heartbreaking, but also brilliant, which tempers the sadness a bit and makes it something glorious. I love that.

      I don’t always know exactly why I like a poem. Usually, it has to do with the content: if I can find a poet who expresses an interesting idea in a way that I’ve never thought of to express it, I like that a lot (case in point, “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden).

      Sometimes, though, I like a poem just because the level of skill it took to write it impresses me so much. For example, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” bowls me over because not only does it maintain a complicated rhyme scheme throughout a really long poem, but it also has a rhythm about it that makes it feel almost like music. Besides, I like the drama of it too. 🙂

      As for the question about reciting poems mentally, I usually don’t make an effort to memorize poems (maybe I should though), but sometimes, I’ll notice that I’ve read a poem so many times that I can recite it by heart. When that happens, I sometimes do recite it (in my head or out loud) to keep it in my memory.

      If you really want to get into poetry, you should try lots of different styles and poets on for size and see which you like the best. For me, I didn’t like poetry much at all when my school was teaching me from Walt Whitman and William Wordsworth, but when they started teaching me from John Milton and W. H. Auden, I started to really love poetry. And then I started reading it on my own and found that, while there are some poets whose work I can’t stand, there are others whose work I love. Poetry is very personal and very subjective, so it all just depends on the individual.

      I hope all of that helps. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love most of Poe’s poems (but then, I actually like a lot of his stories as well, gloomy as they are), but I’m so happy to see someone else bring this one up! I had actually forgotten about it entirely, but I remember reading it as an undergrad and loving it; it’s not nearly as appreciated as it ought to be!

    Like

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