The last three stanzas from “The Raven”:
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil – prophet still, if bird 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 Lenore -Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign in 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 sittingOn 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 lamplight 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!
–Edgar Allan Poe
I am reminded of this poem because of a strange occurrence that has happened several times. A black bird (I am pretty sure it’s a raven) has been looming around our church building. A few times, there has been a knock at my door (because my office is connected to the outside) and I realize it was this raven pecking at the door! It’s also been knocking on the windows and perching on the window sills.
It it creepy. And maybe it’s nothing, but ever since I read this poem in high school I always associate this bird with evil.
The devil is pecking at me, trying to distract me from ministry. I don’t doubt it.