The Bird

I dislike The Message. A lot. If there is one thing I can point to in the modern Christian world that is the embodiment of most things I find objectionable about modernity creeping its way into the Church, it would be The Message. My problems with it are many, spanning from how it assumes that the modern reader is too ignorant to understand anything outside the vernacular to the stripping away of anything resembling the poetic, the historical, or the traditional. It takes scripture and turns it into pop fiction and in doing so rips out it’s soul. Which is why, one day, I decided to illustrate my distaste by rewriting Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven in the same way the authors of The Message would have translated the psalms. Below is my meager attempt at satire.

The Bird,

or If Poe’s The Raven  appeared in “The Message” version of the Bible

By Ben Craton

One dark and stormy night, while I was thinking
About some old books that no one remembers,
I was very tired, but suddenly there was a tap,
As if someone was knocking softly on my bedroom door.
“It must be a visitor,” I muttered, “knocking on my bedroom door-
Only this, and nothing else.”

Oh, I remember clearly, it was the in the middle of Decemeber,
And embers from my fire died on the floor.
I wished it was tomorrow;-in vainity I wanted to read
My books to bring an end to my sorrow-sorrow for my lost Lenore-
That special and glowing woman that the angels named Lenore-
She no longer has a name.

And the sad, nervous rustling of the silk purple curtains
Excited me-filled me with nightmarish terrors I’d never felt before;
So that now, to stop my heart from beating so hard, I stood repeating
“It’s some visitor wanting me to open my bedroom door-
Just some late vistitor wanting me to open my bedroom door;-
That is all, and nothing else.”

At this, my courage grew; and waiting no more,
“Sir,” I said, “or Ma’m, I am so sorry;
But I was just taking a nap, and so when you knocked so softly,
And you did knock very softly, knocking on my bedroom door,
That I wasn’t sure I heard you”-here I opened the door wide;-
There was only darkness, and nothing else.

I looked deep into that darkness, I stood there a while, fearing,
Doubting, thinking up thoughts too frightening to be thought before by anyone;
But the silence continued, and the darkness was too dark to see anything,
And the only thing I could think of was to whisper, “Lenore!”
After whispering, an echo repeated back, “Lenore!”
Only this, and nothing else.

I turned back into my bedroom, furious and frightended,
But soon I again heard a knocking, louder than before.
“Surely,” I said, “surely that is something at my window shade;
Let me see, then, what it is, and figure this out-
Take a deep break and figure this out;-
It’s just the wind and nothing else.”

At this point I opened the shutters, when, with feathers rustling,
A raven stepped in, looking all prim and proper;
He didn’t pay attention to me, he didn’t wait a second;
But, acting like a snob, perched above my bedroom door-
Perched on top of my bust of Pallas just above my bedroom door-
Perched, and sat, that is all.

This this black bird caused me to smile,
Since it had this air of nobility,
“Even though your feathers seem like it,” I said, “you aren’t a coward,
You depressing and old raven wandering in from the night-
Tell me what your name is in hell!”
The raven said, “Nevermore.”

I was struck by hearing this nasty bird talk,
Though its answer didn’t make any sense;
Because who else could ever say
That they had seen a bird above their bedroom door-
A bird, or any animal for that matter, on a statue above their door,
With a name like “Nevermore.”

But the raven, sitting by himself on that bust, only said
That one word, as if he said everything he was in that word.
He said nothing else and he never moved a feather-
Until I muttered under muy breath “All my friends have left me-
In the morning, he’ll go away, just like all my hope.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

I was startled at the silence being broken by just a sharp reply,
“At any rate,” I said, “it only knows that one word
He probably learned it from some pathetic owner who had some sadness in his life
He probably repeated this word over and over in his crying-
Until his hope was gone and only this bird could say this word,
of ‘Never-nevermore.'”

But the raven still made me smirk,
I wheeled my chair in front of the bird, the bust, and the door;
Then, I sat down, and started thinking
Long and hard, wondering what this ominuous looking bird-
this dark, clumsy, skinny, and ominous bird
Meant in saying “Nevermore.”

And so I tried to guess, but I said nothing out loud
To that bird whose eyes seemed to burrow right into me;
This and more I sat thinking about, while reclining
On the soft lining that glowed from the lamp’s light,
But whose lining that glowed from the lamp’s light,
She will never touch again!

Then, I thought, the air seemed thicker, and began to smell
As though angels had entered the room.
“Wretch,” I screamed, “your God has sent you with these angles
Escape and wine for forgetting my memories of Lenore!
Let me take the wine and forget all about Lenore!”
The raven said, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” I said, “You evil thing!-still a prophet, regardless if you’re a bird or devil!-
Whether you were sent by Satan, or you were blown in by a storm,
Alone yet completely clam, on to this empty land-
On to this house which is haunted-tell me the truth, I beg of you-
Is there-is there salvation?-tell me-tell me, I beg of you!”
The raven said, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” I said, “You evil thing!-still a prophet, regardless if you’re a bird or devil!-
In the name of heaven-in the name of God who we both love-
Tell me, sad as I am, if, in paradise far away,
There lives a woman who the angles named Lenore-
There lives a special and glowing woman who the angles named Lenore.”
The raven said, “Nevermore.”

“Then with that, please go away, you bird or enemy!” I screamed, standing up-
“Go back into the storm and the darkness of the night!
Do not leave any feathers as a reminder of what you just said!
Let me be along!-Get down from the bust above my door!
Take your beak out of my heart, and your body from off of my door!”
The raven said, “Nevermore.”

And the raven, never moving, is still sitting, is still sitting
On the white bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes seem like those of a dreaming demon,
And the lamp’s light casts his shador onto the floor;
My soul is as black as that shadow on the floor
And will always be that way!

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