Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Edgar Allan Poe Thanksgiving. Oh! It Smells!

This account of Poe making a brief return from the afterlife in order to recite a heartfelt Ode to Turkey appeared in the “Grange (MN) Advance” for January 7, 1874. Needless to say, this is very probably the greatest piece of journalism ever.  It seemed only appropriate that I share it for this particular holiday so we can all give thanks for old newspapers and the editors who obviously really liked their adult beverages.  Happy Thanksgiving to one and all tomorrow.


[The other evening at a seance of spiritualists in Hastings, Minnesota, Edgar A. Poe, the great American poet, announced himself as present. Among other questions, he was asked which one of the good things of this life he missed most in his new abode. His answer, to the great surprise of his interviewers, was "a good, square meal." He added that he had not had too many of them while alive, but that since his transfer to the spirit-world his ethereal stomach had been perfectly disgusted with the light diet to which it was subjected and that while making a meal the other day of a gentle zephyr, flavored with the breath of roses, his imagination had longingly reverted to the last roast turkey he had enjoyed on earth, and that he had thereupon composed the following additional verse to his "Bells." He added, with suppressed raps and with long pauses between the words, that "there was nothing in the spirit world equal to roast turkey;" and in the silence which followed a peculiar sound was heard which the medium said was the smacking of Poe's ghostly lips over the recollections of "the royal bird." The verse is as follows, and we trust our readers will accept the moral of the poem, especially in this holiday season, which is, to take all the comforts out of this life they possibly can.]


Hear the glorious dinner bells,
Copper, silver, golden bells,
Sympathetic dinner bells;
What a world of satisfaction,
Their melody foretells.
And the turkey, smoking hot,
From the dark ambrosial pot,
Crammed with sweetness till it swells,
And it smells! oh! it smells,
As if an angel dwells
In the circumambient air;
And from irridescent wings,
O'er the loaded table flings,
Paradisial odors rare,
Filling, thrilling all the air.
While it smells! oh! it smells,
Smells, smells, smells,
Smells, smells, smells,
As if the saints forgiven,
Through the open gates of heaven,
Flung the beaming, gleaming,
Light of Eden rare;
Through the circumambient air,

[It may be objected that this verse is hardly equal to the rest of Poe's poetry, but allowances must be made for the light diet on which it was produced. EDITOR GRANGE ADVANCE.]

(Image via New York Public Library.)

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