The Literary Cannon


The Literary Cannon
She walks in beauty, like the night, But God she gave me such a fright
When she came knocking at my door, Going on about “Nevermore!”
This ghastly, ghastly girl, Lenore, Loves books and poems from the days of yore
And she’ll wake me in the dead of night Out of affection, or out of spite,
To bring me everything she’s reading And has been reading in the days preceding. What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was your brain? You Jabberwock! You Jubjub bird!
You literature-obsessed word nerd, How is it that you’ll happily pile
Whatever strikes you as a bibliophile? Byron, Bronte, Twain and Verne,
Walker, Webster, Hugo, Burns! Is there no method to your madness?
No conquering your Bosom’s sadness When it is too deprived of pages
Or missing the plays of ancient stages? The course of love never did run smooth
And barring paper cuts the books do soothe When your heart and soul are weary
You remember Paradise is a kind of library. It was a Wilde man, I think, who said,
And I keep these words always in my head The truth is ne’er simple and rarely pure,
And the quote has a strange and soft allure. Because while I criticize Lenore
Named just here forevermore I find peace only among my books
With just them and me and my own good looks. I know my verses, I know my words,
I know the nameless city’s curse, I’ve met Ishmael, Nemo, Pan and Hook,
I’ve met Dahl’s butler and his cook, Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Let us examine a room of one’s own, Let me… Let me-
Ugh, God, so sorry… Now did I stutter or am I puttering with words
that don’t belong to me, With stumbling and sputtering the words that
belong to centuries, These words I hear in academic mumblings and
mutterings, And poetic words of verse that set my heart
afluttering If the drunkard made the reeling, rolling,
rambling English road, They also made the singing, shining, scrambling
English code, This canon set with heavy words and fiery
lines of prose, That set aflame the crimson joy of every blooming
rose, I love Lenore no less than I feel passion
for the pen, And I love to read a new page as to read the
same again, I love to use the words of old and twist them
as I like, To play with plays, poems, prose and novels
all alike, O Captain, my captain, allow me my literary
theft, O Captain, my captain, I’ll take my exit stage
left.

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