Hello, writers! April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, we thought we’d share this forgotten piece of writing we recently stumbled upon, written by none other than Edgar Allan Poe (sources… er… forthcoming).
This month is a time to celebrate the unexpected inspiration that poetry can offer even the most stoically unpoetic copywriter, entrepreneur, or brand marketer. Poetry is when words (and writers) get to play, and that sense of fun and innovation can be infectious.
Steel your heart, for this is a tale of misery, woe, and lost inspiration—a terror every writer has had to face…
Once inside my office dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Searching mind and soul for inspiration, lost as old forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my office door.”
’Tis my client,” I muttered, “tapping at my office door—
Only this and nothing more.”
Suddenly I then remembered my deadline, bleak as December;
My extension now dismembered, surely they would grant no more.
Anxiously I feared the morrow—vainly I had sought to borrow
From Facebook a cease of sorrow, for the words I so adore—
For the rare and radiant words oh whom I always so adore—
Silent here for evermore.
And the silence I was facing set my tender heart to racing,
Thrilled me—filled me with blocked writer’s terrors never felt before;
So that now, despite the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis my client entreating entrance at my office door—
A late writer bodes entreating entrance at their office door;
I should expect nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Please,” said I, “My client, truly your forgiveness I implore;
I was writing—so not napping— and then gently you came rapping,
And quite faintly you came tapping, tapping at my office door,
That I was scarce 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, cheering,
Relief and joy within me such as I had not felt before;
But my block yet was unbroken, even with this precious token,
Of fate; no muse had spoken, bringing the words I so adore.
“Please,” I whispered, praying for the written words I so adore.—
Silence came and nothing more.
Back into my office turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “That is not my client at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, just what that 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 my own Self Doubt, stronger now than ever before;
Not a sign of respect gave it, not a minute stopped or stayed it;
But, with a countenance grave it perched beside my office door—
Perched upon a sagging couch placed just beside my office door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this consuming Doubt still growing, all my fear within me showing,
Still I knew I had to ask the answer I was looking for,
“Though my mind be blank and empty, Doubt,” I said, “Some hope please give me,
Ghastly grim and ancient Self Doubt, will I write words I so adore?—
Tell me that I surely will write endless words that I shall adore!”
Quoth my Self Doubt “Nevermore.”
Much I trembled then from hearing Doubt confirm what I was fearing,
Still I wondered if this was the truth I had been searching for;
Some part of me was not believing what my Doubt was revealing
That I would not e’er again write any word I so adore—
That those subtle sweet enchanting lovely words I so adore,
I would write them nevermore.
I could feel my darkness growing; I felt tempted into knowing
That I would fail, and everything I wrote—if I could— would bore,
Was I now some unhappy writer and no longer a fighter,
Who would just give up hope, with empty pages tossed on the floor?
Wasn’t there still some small hope in those empty pages on the floor?
Would I fill them nevermore?
But my Self Doubt, sitting lonely on the sagging couch, spoke only
That one word, as if all truth in that one word he did outpour.
No small hope he then would utter, daring not my heart to flutter—
Daring not my mind to mutter that I had written before—
Maybe Doubt was right, it could be, though I had written before.
Now I would write nevermore.
Though I felt the fear now in me, still there was a fire within me,
“Perhaps,” said I, “What it utters is not yet my final score.
I will not unhappy sit here and without a fight accept fear
As if writer’s block is certain and my mind’s a witless bore—
Surely I am not a dull and tired and witless wordless bore
That will write now nevermore.”
While my Self Doubt still was moping, I could feel my heart now hoping,
As I thought of my heroes who faced such Doubt like mine before;
They, like me, had faced such sinking into dark and morbid thinking
But still they had kept on and found that greater things were yet in store—
That even after darkest night there were bright sunrises yet in store
After Doubt said, “Nevermore.”
Thus I sat engaged in musing, while my office I could now see
And noticed that it was untidy, dull, bland from top to floor;
None could find inspiration in such a drab and soulless station
And so without hesitation, though it had once seemed quite a chore,
I cleaned and spruced, through organizing, and it did not seem a chore,
For it was dull nevermore!
Then, methought, my soul grew brighter, and my thoughts too became lighter
And I craved some beauty poring deep inside my writer’s core.
“Doubt,” I cried, “Despite your stern look, I will reread a treasured book
And let it fill me full of rich words, gorgeous words I so adore;
How I long to fill myself with all those words that I adore!
I’ll be empty nevermore.”
“Once full,” said I, “I will then find peace now inside my restless mind,
By sitting still and quiet, and meditating, I will push your
Vile thoughts from my once busy soul— you shall not have my mind’s control—
In the quiet I will hear what I have long been looking for.
I will find those precious words that I have so long been looking for!
They will all hide nevermore.”
Now my Self-Doubt grew meeker, paler, sadder, finally weaker—
No longer a frightening menace, it shuffled toward the door!
It left no worry as a token of that lie it had spoken!
And suddenly I was unbroken! From me words did outpour!
Oh how lovely to feel the rush of my words as they outpour!
I will lose them nevermore.
While Self Doubt’s still there, I’m not listening, I’m not listening,
It shall not stop me from finding new ideas to explore;
No blank page will send me reeling, I will now accept my feeling,
Good or bad, and turn it into brand new words that I adore;
For now I know how to always find brand new words that I adore.
I shall be blocked—nevermore!
Amanda Kaye Stein graduated from the Academy of Art University with an A.A. in Fashion Design (focus on Fashion Illustration and Creative Writing). She’s worked as a freelance writer, editor, social media manager, graphic designer, artist, and comedy improv performer. She’s an aspiring novelist, YouTube creator, and ukulele rock star.