Thursday 28 December 2006

The little known Passion of Edgar Allan Poe

I got "The Complete Tales & Poems" by Edgar Allan Poe for Christmas.
Apart from providing a few links which I have already done I am sure there is no further need to introduce the inclined reader of this blog to Poe's person or his work. He surely has to be recognized as the single most influential literary genius ever, along maybe with Goethe who rocks, too.
What only few realize however is that Poe was also the first real birder ever (whereas Goethe wasted his Natural History talents mostly on Botany, the fool) and if you carefully read Poe's Tales and especially his early poetry this is actually quite apparent.
Here is a brilliant example of Poe's little known affiliation to birdwatching:

A (Birder's Winter) Dream

In winter's long and dark night
I have dreamed of birds departed;
But a waking dream of song and flight
Hath left me broken hearted
Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On birds around him, with a ray
Turned back upon the past?
That holy dream of birds in spring
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.
What though that light, thro' storm and night
So trembled from afar -
What could there be more purely bright
Than watching a Prothonotary Warbler

Even though it seems he got carried away writing the last verse, he's got a point there and I think this is a great piece of the kind of birding poetry that we need more of.

I am not a poet, I am not a good photographer and the following image is not of a Prothonotary Warbler, but it's a Yellow Bird and it's from spring and I don't have anything better at the moment, so it'll have to do!

There's even more to the picture: someone recently observed a Yellow Warbler close to Detroit, a Ray of Hope returned from the South?
I'll be off to the Arb and Furstenberg Park as soon as possible, so stay tuned for more...

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