Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Quoth the Baby

Benson loves to say, "No!"
As evidenced in the video below:

A while back Sam and I somehow got talking about Edgar Allan Poe's classic The Raven,
and how our wee little tyke is a bit like that creepy raven in his verbosity.
Combine that with Sam's perpetual exhaustion and kids often trailing into our room at all hours of the night, and you get this silly adaptation of The Raven I scrawled out this morning,
hoping to bring a smile to my sleep-deprived husband's face.
His sorrow for his lost snores may just match the character's sorrow over his lost Lenore.

Solidarity, fellow parents of little ones.
Hang in there.
We're all tired together.

The Baby

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of children's lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis a child," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was hot as burning embers;
And my iPhone's glow wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Anxiously I awaited the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Snore--
For the rare and radiant sleep that brings such a blessed Snore--
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each pillow and blanket
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
"'Tis a child entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Child," said I, "or Baby, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Snore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Snore!"--
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what threat is, and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a tiny Lad 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, jumped into my bed to snore--
Perched upon my pillow just beyond my chamber door--
Perched, and smiled, and nothing more.

Then this cherubic child beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the sweet and tender decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy head be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Come wandering in to steal my errant Snore--
Tell me why you won't yourself snore!"
Quoth the Baby, "NO!"

Much I marvelled this ungainly babe to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with such sweet boys to steal his Snores--
Boy or babe upon the bed to steal his Snores,
While yet declaring, "NO!"

But the Lad, sitting lonely on that white pillow, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered--not a finger then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other boys have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my boys have flown before."
Then the Baby said, "NO!"

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy siblings whom unmerciful quibblings
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'NO!'"

But the Baby still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I walked toward the Lad, and bed, and door;
Then, upon the mattress sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous child of yore--
What this sweet, innocent, cherubic, bright, and plump babe of yore
Meant in bellowing, "NO!"

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the boy whose shining eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the pillow's silky lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose white and silky lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
Sleep shall linger, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by another boy whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy mother hath lent thee--by these brothers she hath sent thee
Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Snore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Snore!"
Quoth the Baby "NO!"

"Child!" said I, "born of mother!--child still, if babe or brother!--
Whether Mother sent, or whether nightmares tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this wooded land enchanted--
On this home by Sleeplessness haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Baby "NO!"

"Child!" said I, "born of mother!--child still, if babe or brother!
By the toys that yet surround us--by the books we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall grasp a blissful craving accompanied by a certain Snore--
Grasp a rare and radiant craving accompanied by a certain Snore."
Quoth the Baby "NO!"

"Be that word our sign of parting, child or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into thy bed and place of baby snores!
Leave no blonde tuft as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the pillow inside my door!
Take thy teething mouth from out my heart, and take thy form from inside my door!"
Quoth the Baby "NO!"

And the Baby, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid pillow just inside my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall ever be moaning--"Noooooo!"

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