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Sunday, October 13, 2013

I am a Raven!!

So tonight my friends and I are hanging around the nest watching Sunday Night Football when Bob Costas comes on and decides to editorialize his portion of half time.  He drones on and on about the name Red Skins and how we should all be ashamed that a football team would dare use the likeness, image or essence of an Indian to depict the inner workings of their team.  What made sense to me that if I was a football team I would want to hitch my wagon to a group that would signify my toughness, my warrior like demeanor....But not Bob, Dan Snyder should be ashamed of owning a team that would demean a group of people by calling his football team Redskins.  I am a Raven....and as far as I am concerned Baltimore has done all of us Ravens a favor

Up until 1996 Ravens had an image problem.  We had a scary poem and a scary movie moving our trend.  My great-great-great-great Grandfather was the inspiration behind the Edgar Allen Poe poem (say that 3 times) "The Raven".  We are a proud group of interesting looking Birds with a purpose and a presence, we clean up road kill and obviously pose for postcards around the castle.

This is a causal picture of my English cousin Ricky with his intended right before their wedding.

This is my brother-in-laws grandfather who was the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds".  That movie kind of scared me to death when I saw it, but I liked the recognition. Ravens don't lead the most glamorous life, we eat road kill for heaven's sake...  But then as fate would have it, our lives kind of picked up when Baltimore got a new football team and decided on Ravens to be their mascot.  We were so excited!  A real touch of glamor, people everywhere with T-Shirts on with our likeness.  Instead of being kind of a thug bird, we are now depicted as fierce and a symbol of winning.  From a marketing standpoint I was the Old Spice guy times 10, it was right up there with, "why don't we slice the bread?" It was Nike's "just do it" and "diamonds are forever"  Baltimore did for us Ravens what Bert did for Ernie.  We had arrived, we were no longer just a scary poem at Halloween.

But then there was Bob Costas telling the world that using the name Redskins is demeaning, racially charged and if we are a thinking people we will admit it is wrong.  Maybe that is the rub, I am a bird and I don't think like that.  I guess only humans look for reasons to be contentious.  I may not have opposable thumbs but I know contention has to be searched for because it doesn't come naturally.  It is sort of like pounding your thumb with a hammer.  Who does that?  

Halloween is coming up, my favorite holiday and I have events to attend.  You would be surprised how many people love having a Raven personally attend a Halloween party.  And it's football season...this is my time to shine and no time for contention.

So leave the Baltimore Ravens alone.  I rock that Casbah.  

Just for fun I added our little poem so you can read it to your children, just in time for Halloween..
Wasn't Edgar awesome?

Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

[First published in 1845]
horizontal spaceOnce upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat 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 raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
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Last update: August 22, 2013 by H. Behme
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