Today I have chosen Edgar Allan Poe to be my posthumous ‘guest blogger.’ Poe is one of my favorite writers, and it’s especially cool that he was born in Boston, Massachusetts. You can be sure I will post other works by him. At first I thought of posting “Annabel Lee” because the melancholic beauty and rhythm of it is quite moving, but it just may be his most popular poem, for a reason, and so I decided to post a lesser known one. I selected “To My Mother” because I remember when I was working on my B.A. I did a literary perspective/psychological analysis piece on the symbolism of “Cask of Amontillado.” I compared the catacombs to the womb, and delved into Poe’s preoccupation with premature burial in this and other works (such as in “The Premature Burial”). I based my ideas on a book I read (it was actually a physical book with pages, and not information I researched from the internet). Poe’s mother died presumably of consumption when he was a toddler. He watched her die; I believe his young siblings were also there, and they were alone with her as she died, and with her body following death. I think I read that it was for a period of two weeks after she died that they remained in the small apartment in Virginia with her body. I tried to find this information before posting but I couldn’t verify the accuracy, so this could be a bit off. She died at the age of 24, in the presence of her three young children. Poe was a toddler, perhaps about 2 years old, and the middle child.
Poe wrote the following poem to his mother-in-law who was more of a mother to him, since his own mother died when he was so young.
“To My Mother”
by Edgar Allan Poe
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother,”
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you-
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
My mother- my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.