Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
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The Raven's Deliverance

by James Matthew Byers

Thrice upon a decade's turning, in my den, the embers burning
Black and christened memories sufficed, enticed, induced ashore
Fleeting quickly as a jeering, convalescing in a clearing,
Ever present, ever nearing, clanging at my chamber door.
" 'T is the leering Raven clanging, banging at my chamber door."
Thought I, then nothing more.

Here again, as I remember in the darkness of December
Passing o'er the frail November which hath chained me to the floor
Bound by wine and wind chimes dying, rhyme of whispers, yet espying
At the prying of the presence of my grievance for Lenore-
At the faded, fleeting notion of long gone and dead Lenore,
Thought I, then nothing more.

Likely hung beyond a nape there dangling through the purple drape
Escape derived for me an ease of doted loathing to explore.
Unsure remission of the cancer hearkened as a maddened dancer
boundless in my want for answers there beyond my chamber door.
All the while, I knew the caller cackling at my chamber door-
" 'T is the Raven, nothing more."

Now with suicide depleting, aged old man again repeating
As the harshness of the beating in his heart there did ignore
Twisted trauma in the cawing, like a bone a dog lays gnawing
Rising from his cradled awning, reaching out to clasp the door-
With a burst of thunder spawning, I encroached upon the door.
Lightning bounded all the more.

Rainfall flitted off the ceiling, as in drunken stupor reeling
All at once I went to kneeling there astride rectangle's lore
Not withstanding lustful vigor of the feathered fiend of rigor
Cursing at the languid figure in one word, entombed "Lenore!"
Then repeated back in sequence came the echo of "Lenore."
Thus repeated, nothing more.

Craving Pallas as its perch, the foul brand fowl began to lurch
As he my church and congregation brought forth all I did abhor.
I spat rudely at its gleaming eye befit for fevered dreaming
crying out in loudest screaming "Fly thee hence to yon lost shore!"
Never questioned of its reason on the Night's Plutonian shore.
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

To the den, abroad I scampered, through intoxication's hamper
Reaching out, a pampered bottle to disperse a gruesome gore.
I remitted to the season, winter's bloated, bolstered treason
Deviating, mad with reason, soon my wrath I would explore-
Making my way to the Raven in the wrath I would explore.
There I yelled "Be gone Lenore!"

Cawing cackle hissed in humor, as the pulsing of a tumor
Culminated in the shattered glass abroad the Raven's yore.
Never did he one time motion, only leered at my emotion
While I broke and cracked in notion, hanging loosely to the door.
There I gave into my sorrow, hanging on my chamber door.
Said I "Forgive me, sweet Lenore."

"Every year, I sit and linger, wrapped up in thy feathered finger
Waiting for prophetic wisdom to entreat me here no more!
And yon eye filled full of malice posts a side-storm birthing chalice
There atop the perch of Pallas grieving me in what it bore.
Here alone, intoxicated, grieving me in what it bore."
Motioned Raven "Ever more."

Light from lamp beyond the Raven, holstering a lengthy cave-in
Sought a curtained veil of shadows posted daintily ashore
With the crippling of my vision, and the Raven's indecision
I again yelled in condition "Were in not thee, fair Lenore?"
Silence answered in its echo "Were in not thee, fair Lenore?"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

Spinning round, unbound, unnumbered, hence I found the minutes squandered,
Just to say a hundred passions surging through the clothes I wore
Brief eclipse of pain and pleasure, bristled shards of tainted measure
Till the stolen lonely treasure wound me back down to the floor-
Till the weeping from my stupor forced me duly to the floor
Cocked the Raven " 'T is thy shore."

Could it be adopted anthem spun from beak's polluted ransom
Struck a chord in different sonnets blistering the sullen core?
"More, I beg thee! More to soothe me! More to ease, caress, and free me!"
But in silence, there he left me with my thoughts of lost Lenore-
There I glared up at the Raven in my thoughts of lost Lenore
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"No!" responded I in anger, fueled, enraged, a present stranger
And from pallid bust of Pallas, there the Raven did implore
To bequeath my trident longing for a sense of brief belonging
escalating and prolonging, saying "Please forget Lenore."
Yes, it burned across my soul when said to please forget Lenore.
I responded "Nevermore!"

As before, the air grew thicker, and my sickness hastened quicker
While an iridescent spirit of celestial rhythm's core
Meshed and twined the inner lining of the feast's forbidden dining
And with pining arms I felt the rain pelt harder than before.
I awaited spirit's coming, pelting harder than before
There beyond the chamber door.

Madness, like a fester boiling, all about my membranes coiling
Found me choking on the splinters of what I once did adore.
Withered features swore the creature was not she, I did entreat her
After thirty years of holding on, I wished for her no more.
"Let me go!" I cried in anguish, and I wished for her no more.
Spoke the Raven "Heed my lore!"

"Thy Lenore is dead, a memory, and for all the years, has seen me
Every night when midnight bade thy soul awaken to explore
In repentance, thou hast fashioned every notion bred of passion
And in ration here from Pallas' bust I cursed thee o'er and o'er-
Yes I cursed thee for thy blindness as 'T was done so o'er and o'er.
I responded "Please, no more!"

In the finite spindle fleeting, feathered wings made fast retreating
And the devil's guild at last removed itself from all I swore.
Evanescing in the bleakness, I succumbed to futile weakness
And aloud I plagued the darkness with but one tired word, "Lenore."
Spoken softly, ever gently, placed to rest at last, Lenore
To myself said nothing more.

Days and nights, they blur together- now removed from beak and feather
And I am not haunted by the twinge of woeful "Nevermore."
Just the ghosts of years I wasted, and the wines my lips have tasted
in the shadow, once I basted, to encroach across the floor
And my soul, freed fast from sorrow, flies beyond the shadowed floor
To be lifted- ever more!

© 2007 James Matthew Byers

James Matthew Byers is a published author(Grecian Rune, 2004) and a father of two. He has been married to his wife, Dorothea, for seven years. Currently, he teaches Special Education at St. Clair County High School in Odenville, AL. He resides with his family and two cats in Rainbow City, AL.

Find more by James Matthew Byers in the Author Index.

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