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Adventure Stories & Humor

Lucy by Dixon Kenner

I Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten Land Rover lore.
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some tappet gently rapping, rapping at my safari door.
- -Tis some visitor,. I muttered -tapping at my safari 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 Lucy.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lucy.
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each bronze green 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 safari door.
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my safari 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 safari 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 -Lucy!.
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word -Lucy!.
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the Rover 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 sliding glass, When, with many a flirt and flutter
In there stepped a stately Lemon Pledge of the Saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mein of lord or lady, perched above my safari door.
Perched upon my shelf of stores just above my safari door.
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this decorated can 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 polish wandering from the Nightly shore.
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Lucasian shore!.
Quoth the Leon Pledge, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled 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 Lemon Pledge above his Safari door.
Bird or beast upon the sculptured can above his safari door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Lemon Pledge, sitting lonely on the placid shelf, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered -not a chamois 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 Lemon Pledge 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 Lemon Pledge still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of the can, and bust and door;
Then, upon the naugahyde sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous polish of yore.
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous polish of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the can whose fiery letters now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's naugahyde lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose naugahyde grey 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 Lucy,
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lucy!.
Quoth the Lemon Pledge "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, -thing of evil! prophet still, if polish or devil!.
Whether Tempest 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 Chelmsford? tell me, tell me, I implore!.
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, -thing of evil! - prophet still, if polish 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 Lucy.
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lucy.
Quoth the Lemon Pledge "Nevermore."

Be that word our sign of parting, polish or fiend!. I shrieked, upstarting.
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Lucasian shore!
Leave no polished, reflective streak as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! "quit the shelf above my door!
Take thy desire for shiney things from out my heart, and Take thy form from off my door!.
Quoth the Lemon Pledge "Nevermore."

And the Lemon-Pledge, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid shelf of ex-Stowe stores just above Alan's safari door;
And Alan's eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the work-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the walnut dash;
And Alan's soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted... nevermore!

Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
Comments? Send mail to Dixon Kenner or Benjamin Smith
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