Suppose, if only for a fleeting moment, that Poe, while weakly pondering at midnight on that dreary eve, had the notion to send a bird other than a Raven to first tap on that chamber door. Would a change in feather design and color affect the story?
Let’s have a bit of fun with this idea by having a few of Paul Beecroft’s new-found South African feathered friends stand in for the ebony superstar of Poe fame. Maybe they can shed a little light as to why E.A. selected the black-plumed winged vertebrate as the lead in his famous tale.
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Go-Away-Bird of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Banana Bird “Nevermore.”
Yellow-billed Hornbill, aka The Banana Bird
But the Red-billed Hornbill, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
But the Wahlberg’s Eagle still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Jackal Buzzard “Nevermore.”
And the Yellow-billed Stork, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the two kinds of Hadeda Ibis “Nevermore.”
Quoth the Starling “Nevermore.”
But the Guinea Fowl and Vultures still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door
Guinea fowl and Vultures with Warthogs
Quoth the Warthog “Nevermore.
Okay, Raven it is…
*Photos taken by Paul Beecroft during a recent journey to South Africa.
The goofiness…well, I’m to blame for that portion of the post. Sorry, Paul.
* * *
Paul Beecroft has spent a good deal of his life in law enforcement, in England. He’s worked Foot Patrol, Area Car, Instant Response Car and also as a Police Motorcyclist. Paul currently works as a coroner’s investigator and has traveled all over England, Wales, Scotland and even Germany to investigate crimes.
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