Poe’s “Raven” has been the subject of many parodies. Henry Beard in his book Poetry for Cats has one titled “The End of the Raven.” In high school I wrote a much less accomplished version with a gym-teacher antagonist badgering a sleepyhead teenager to “Go to school.” Here’s a more recent take-off from my collection of metapoems. It could use some polishing, but I post it nonetheless, since it may be a long while before the revision muse comes knocking. Peace to your ♥ !
The Raving (by Edgar Allan Poet)
Once upon a midnight silent, while I slept, there came a violent
Summons, as though a muse stood by my bedside.
While I wondered, somewhat shaken, if I had been mistaken,
The summons came once more, intensified.
As far as I can remember, it was the second of December,
And I felt a draft of chilly air brush past my hand.
Disturbed, I groped for pad and pen, only to find I had
Forgotten to put them on the nightstand.
The thought of leaving bed filled me with the deepest dread
So that instead I thought to memorize each verse,
But though I kept repeating and repeating and repeating,
It was more than I could easily rehearse.
Presently the room grew colder; becoming then a trifle bolder,
“Muse,” I said, “It pains me to ignore you.
Since I was already snoozing when you came to do your musing,
Could you return when it is morning? I implore you.”
A quarter-hour I waited, stalling; a quarter-hour the muse kept calling,
Till I feared I would go mad if it persisted.
“Muse,” I cried, “Unwelcome guest! Disturber of much-needed rest!
Scat! Vamoose! Begone!” Still the muse insisted.
At last I could no longer bear it; despite the freezing air it
Must be done. Grudgingly I set foot upon the floor,
Grumbling all the while at this queer nocturnal trial,
And with pad and pen returned, colder than before.
Not a minute did I waste but, shivering, wrote with haste,
Distressed to see how soon it would be light.
At last, the muse’s summons lifted, into a fitful sleep I drifted
And woke oppressed by ghastly memories of the night.
Feeling exhausted and ill-used, yet appreciating still
The fact I had some poetry to show for it,
With a trembling hand, each page of verse I scanned
And found I could not read a single bit.
Now my wrath was piqued—“Unfair! Unfair!” I shrieked.
With all my strength I threw the tablet at the door.
Though a muse might come moonlighting, I would do no midnight writing
In the cold and bleak December—NEVERMORE!