Gardening Leave, part 3

More lies. This time, with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe


Late last night, an evening dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over Charles Hughes’ quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone crisply rapping, rapping at my wooden door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my wooden door —
          Only this and nothing more.”

Rudely woken from my slumber, over to the door I lumbered
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so sharply you came rapping,
And so sharply came you tapping, tapping at my wooden door,
What emergency compels you?” — here I opened wide the door; ——
          Darkness there and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping even louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what the craic is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
          ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Pigeon, rat with wings from urban lore;
Not the least kerfuffle made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with air of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Reep kept just above my chamber door —
          Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this grey-brown bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn a smidgen, thou,” I said, “art sure no vision,
Mangy, tattered, soggy pigeon, knocking on my wooden door!
Tell me!” asked I, “what they name is, Pigeon knocking at my door!”
          Quoth the Pigeon “Nevermore.”

Yes, the Pigeon, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —
Till I scarcely more than muttered “All my hopes have flown before —
On the morrow he will leave me, as all jobs have flown before.”
          Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Tell me,” said I, “tell me, can you speak of what I most adore?
‘Prison’d I on this allotment, can you offer me employment?
Must I strive to feign enjoyment as a pundit evermore,
Or is there hope that I might step into a dugout, just once more?
          Quoth the Pigeon “Nevermore”.

Here a fiery rage consumed me, “Pigeon! How can you refuse me?
Whither comes your rapping on my lonely and forgotten door?
Here Steve Claridge tends his garden, as the hearts of chairmen harden,
And the prospects of my pardon hide from hopeful eye once more.
All I need is one more chance, O Pigeon, I’ll succeed, I’m sure!”
          Said the bird, ah! “Nevermore”

One more sad and bitter June. Cursed as journeyman buffoon.
Stuck with Manish in a warehouse, drinking tea for evermore.
Yes, the highlights keep me busy (with your emails, here is Lizzie)
But I yearn to taste that fizzy tang of management once more!
Soon my Pigeon will desert me, as so many have before.
          Quoth the Pigeon “Nevermore.”

“Bird,” I said, “O bird, begone. My lot is thrown, my race is run.
Pundit I, and pundit only. Life has left me just one door.”
Off he flew, and soon I started feeling cold and heavy-hearted.
Silence swelled, my bird departed; silence fell, and chilled me more.
Down I sat to sleep, perchance to dream of times long gone before.
          And dream of work, forever more.