"The Cardinal" or "Springtime Knocking on Our Door"

Once upon a Sunday dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a long and lengthy email that was a bore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my home's front door.
" 'Tis some salesman," I then muttered, "tapping at my home's front door;
Only this, and nothing more."

Presently the taps grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, 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 home's front door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;---
Dry leaves there, and nothing more.

Back into the house now turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, it must something at my window lattice.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.
Then the tapping - now more persistent - I flung open wide the door.
" 'Tis the wind, and nothing more."

Once AGAIN I heard the tapping, determined now to stop this rapping,
I observed a love-crazed cardinal, flying from my home's front door.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched outside my home's front door.
Perched upon a small hydrangea, just outside my home's front door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this tawny bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance she wore,
"Though thy crest be bright, and brave art thou," I said, "you are no raven!
Now fly away and don't be brazen; go tap your beak not on my door.
The kickplate's not to be your mirror!" I flailed my arms and breathed a roar.
Quoth the cardinal, "Nevermore."

But the cardinal, sitting lonely on the hydrangea, uttered only
That one word, as if her soul in that one word she did outpour.
Nothing further then she uttered; not a feather then she fluttered;
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before;
On the morrow she will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

The next day though - AGAIN the rapping - eternally that ceaseless tapping,
The cardinal fighting her reflection in my dilapidated door!
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee -- by these angels he hath
Sent thee---sent thee to do my soul some sanctifying chore.
Quaff, O quaff this endless racket, and forget this home's front door!"
Quoth the cardinal, "Nevermore!"

And the cardinal, never flitting, SEVEN days now, still is sitting
On the doormat by the kickplate just outside my home's front door;
And her eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming.
Fighting 'gainst her mean reflection, till her scarlet head turns red with gore;
Papers posted won't deter her from pest'ring us down to the core
Shall she leave us? Nevermore!

-adapted from Poe's "The Raven"


  1. Sara,

    I haven't come to your family's blog often but I am so glad I did today. Your adaptation from "The Raven" was wonderful. It was especially fun after having just commented about the art work on your front door's kick-plate. I may never look at a cardinal the same again.

    Also, I needed to read the posts from Steve on communion. It would be nice to have these go out with our worship prep information.

    I hope you are all having a great week and I will look forward to seeing you Sunday.


  2. Sara,

    Thank you for the lovely poem. I could have written it myself. We have a cardinal tapping at our door. I wonder if they are related.