Five Belated Birthday Greetings for Edgar Allan Poe

Every year for the past six decades, a shadowy visitor left roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on Edgar Allen Poe's grave on the writer's birthday. This year, no one showed.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

"It is what Edgar Allan Poe might have called 'a mystery all insoluble': Every year for the past six decades, a shadowy visitor would leave roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth. This year, no one showed. Did the mysterious 'Poe toaster' meet his own mortal end? Did some kind of ghastly misfortune befall him? Will he be heard from nevermore?" - Associated Press, January 19, 2010

Hope you're not inclined to scold me, but a little birdie told me
That I missed your birthday, which I've never done before.
With the dawn I should have hurried to the place where you are buried
But the dawning found me napping, napping with a lusty snore.
When shall I next miss your birthday, napping with a lusty snore?
Quoth that birdie: "Nevermore!"


It's not 'cause I'm forgetful that I missed your birthday, surely!
I just went catatonic and was buried prematurely.
Which means I had to spend the anniversary of your birth
Clawing through a coffin lid and several feet of earth.
Caked in blood and dirt, and raving mad, I'm here to say:
So sorry that I missed it--hope you had a special day!


I know I'm late! I thought this year I'd take a different tack
And bring Amontillado, not the usual cognac.
I sought some from old Montressor, an amiable feller--
Until he chained me up behind a wall down in his cellar!
So on your special day I wished us both returns, we two:
That Montressor returns for me--and returns of the day to you!


I know I missed your birthday--a serious omission.
I confess, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!
Imagine my surprise to find that on your special day
I was brought to trial, followed by auto-da-fé.
The pendulum swings lower and will soon cut me in two,
So I want to say I hope your day was really swingin' too!


True! Your birthday's come and gone with no cognac or roses.
The old man said they're wasted on someone who decomposes.
For that remark, I did him in! He'll bother me no more.
I chopped him up and stashed the bits beneath my humble floor.
And yet from underfoot I hear his heart's incessant beatings!
So, from both our hearts, we send belated birthday greetings.

Go To Homepage

Before You Go

Popular in the Community