Poe Boy

by Mike Ross

Baudelaire esteemed him; so did Rimbaud
For his bohemian lifestyle, his poesie pure
But I wasn’t enamored of E.A. Poe.

Do his singsong metrics give you a glow?
To be perfectly honest, they make me snore
I found little to emulate in Edgar Poe.

The topics he chooses are only so-so
They tend toward the gothic, demonic, for sure
Not to mention deathly pallor (quintessentially Poe).

He prefers as his settings Athens and Rome
Much more a la mode than his own Baltimore
In that I have to concur with Poe.

Tears, loss, and mourning are his frequent MO
Singled out by misfortune, misadventure galore
Now I begin to feel guilty about bad-mouthing Poe.

So I open “The Raven” and give it a go
I find busts of Pallas, and of course, “lost Lenore”
In truth, there is little that redeems Mr. Poe
I keep reading and reading ’til the bird squawks: “no more.”

Mike Ross retired from a career as a freelance writer in 2006. He and his wife, Fran, live in Asheville, North Carolina. He teaches a course in poetry at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNC Asheville. His book of poems, Small Engine Repair, was published in November 2015.

About Poe Boy—This humorous villanelle makes use of the fact that in the mid-19th century, French Symbolists “discovered” Edgar Allen Poe and lionized him as a poete maudit, or accursed poet—a poet at odds with conventional society. And we all know that 20 million Frenchpersons can’t be wrong.