"The Hawk"
An adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"
by Frederico Sanchez

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many quaint and curious volumes of forgotten gospel –
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, whistling like a scoundrel coming up the stairwell.
Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “sounding like a scoundrel walking up the stairwell –
I should quickly say farewell.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak November,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the tunnel.
Eagerly I wished to funnel; - tried to fill a broken vessel
And my sorrow quickly expel – all sorrow for my gone Mitchell -
For the rare and golden boy whom the angels called Mitchell -
I call looking down the stairwell.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors as I was in hell;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating:
Tis some visitor entreating entrance coming up the stairwell -
Some late visitor entreating entrance coming up the stairwell;
Now is time to say farewell.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly forgiveness you can parcel;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came walking,
And so faintly you came whistling, sounding like a scoundrel,
That I scarce was sure I heard you” – I looked into the tunnel
Darkness there in the stairwell.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever had dared to retell;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Oh, Mitchell!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “Oh, Mitchell!” –
Stillness there in the stairwell.

Back into the bedroom turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, how I stand there and marvel.
Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery dispel –
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery dispel; -
'Tis silence in the stairwell.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Red Hawk like the one that came to say farewell.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched high above the stairwell –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just high above the stairwell -
Perched, and sat, and seem’d an angel.

Then this redishy bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of his last visit in Carmel,
Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no squawk,
Ghastly grim and ancient Hawk wandering from the Nightly hell-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian hell!”
Quoth the Red Hawk, “Isabel.”

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer had some meaning – that it surely rang a bell;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird high above his stairwell -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust high above the stairwell -
With such name as “Isabel.”

But the Red Hawk, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did propel.
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown to hell-
On the morrow he will leave me as my Hopes have gone to hell.”
Then the bird sang, “Isabel.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is only a type of spell,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden tell-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden tell
Of ‘Never – Isabel.’”

But the Red Hawk still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of the bird and stairwell;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird can yell-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird can tell
Yelling “Never - Isabel.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my soul’s jewel;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining which the light covers as a shell,
But whose velvet violet lining which the light covers as a shell
She shall press, forever - Isabel!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from the unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the gray mantel.
Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of our Mitchell!
Drink, oh drink this kind nepenthe and forget the loss of Mitchell!”
Quoth the Red Hawk, “Isabel.”

Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here in hell,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by Horror haunted – please tell me through what channel-
Can I – is there balm in Gilead? – please help me find a channel!”
Quoth the Red Hawk, “Isabel.”

Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that heaven that bends above us – by God that holds us level –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
That again shall clasp our golden lad whom the angels named Mitchell-
Again clasp a rare and radiant lad whom the angels named Mitchell.”
Quoth the Red Hawk, “Isabel.”

Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting –
Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian hell!”
Leave no red plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – leave high above the stairwell!
Take thy beak from out my heart, remove thy form from my stairwell!”
Quoth the Red Hawk, “Isabel.”

And the Red Hawk, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas so high above my stairwell;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the light over him streaming throws his shadow on the mantel;
And my soul from out that shadow that’s floating on the mantel
Indeed through Isabel shall be lifted, dear Mitchell!