Raven Two

Mike Keith
May 1999



The poem below is an exact anagram of the 4905 characters in Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven (checked by computer for correctness).  Since Poe was a notorious reviser, one still sees variations in a few lines of printed versions of The Raven, so to be rigorous here is the text of Poe's poem that I used to form the anagram.  Note that the titles ("The Raven, the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe", and "Raven Two") are part of the anagram.


This poem won a "Grand Anagrammy Award - Special Category" from the readers of Anagrammy.com for the best anagram of the year 1999 .  We believe this is the first anagram of a text of this size ever constructed, and that it single-handedly jump-started the long anagram as a literary form, which now flourishes on Anagrammy.com and elsewhere.



Raven Two

Once upon an April swelt'ring, as I blubbered, nearly melting,
  Through my grandson's even-chambered house's small hartberry plot,
Damn!  While pre-ill, bathtub-dreaming, all the evening housetops steaming,
  Suddenly, pell-mell, I marveled, birth'd a little sunny thought.
  "Let's go revelling," I ventured, "somewhere where it's ever not
    So interminably hot!"

As I sat in thoughtful heaven, it was nineteen ninety seven;
  (I remember this - it happened that Ralph's beaver ran away.)
Terribly I wished for cooling - season's cash I started pooling
  "Let's," I thought, "repair to Devon seaside, even for a day.
  Babbacombe this forenoon! - let us hobnob on the beach today!
    Teignmouth, Bramble, or Torquay?"

I was then most promptly certain; son, I flung aside the curtain!
  And I peered inside to see the wife, Lenore, in negligee.
"Very hot, it's hell" I muttered, then, brethren, I roughly uttered,
  "Hell, Lenore, let's flee this burg, let's head South for a getaway!
  I've in mind a day or mo' of harbor, maybe in Torquay?"
    Then she muttered, "Um, why Torquay?"

Hot I quarreled (felon, sinner); finally I came a winner,
  So we headed off in search of beach-naps there on Mother Day.
Bah! In tights, prayerlessly driving, something in my brain was jiving,
  For nepenthe this mortal striving, over barren M-five roadway;
  Here a simple statement - why was it still on my mind that day?
    She had trembled, "Why Torquay?"

High-born, I must heave confession: software running's my profession.
  So it's non-surprising that I tho't, bebothered, at the shore;
"Y Torquay" something suggested; in a trice my brain had belted:
  "Y-to-k" we 'uld be having in three years and little more -
  These clove-hooven nerds had only used two bytes the year to store!
    Digits torment? Nevermore!

You might think that I got messed up, but I must admit and 'fess up -
  All that I could see were thrills and fatter pots of revenue.
Fast as neon 'lectrons hop (how?):  London! - open hence a shop now!
  Load up, go about and make 'em tremble (hell-felt ballyhoo)!
  Bent to make the whole world know...but first, to have an Irish stew.
    Home, Lenore! - let's "entre nous".

Borne home north - bah! - to McDonald's, had a damn tell-fest with Ronald.
  "Herb," I said, "you need me more than anyone that's dealt before."
Marvel!  I'll your software patch up, manly as a squirt of ketchup!
  If you laugh me off then I'll motor to your competitor!
  Heed my grammar, or you'll have heartburn - hah, don't show me the door!
    Thumbs, he hurled me from the store.

Tenth, I trod the local Chamber; "Commerce," I averred, "'s in danger.
  We must halt yon system, else the government come crashing down!"
Then they sat in torrent, humming, not a syllable there mumming.
  Then I tho't, "They're pondering the birth, man, of this little town!"
  "Argh," they burp'd, "Who hears?  What government?" and gave me a McFrown.
    Hence they all grinned, evil-clown.

Then methought the hall grew denser (my harsh thought got bleeped by censor);
  As I tartly left I pondered what approach I best should take.
"They don't know about computers, from their teachers or their tutors,
  So perhaps I should connote disaster, evil, flood, earthquake."
  "Rheum!" I thought, "that's it! I'll have them fear a terrible outbreak.
    I'll give them a mammoth ache!"

So I started newly stumping (with a little Bible-thumping),
  Telling everyone the world would rend unless they heeded me.
"Not mere home computers, people!" - this I said beneath the steeple -
  There are several things that need a software patch, and rapidly."
  "Listen, please," I raved, here sit some things that need AI rapidly,
    Or there'll be catastrophe!"

"From propellor, runner, rollmop, propane burner or barn doorstop,
  Sheep-shearing machine or thrinter, or this pronged biplanar fan:"
"Learn, indeed!", the rant continued, "everyone that's been north knows you'd
  Better shelve these gadgets ere two thousand's post-meridian!
  Death to revellers, for they will seek in vain for a CAT scan!
    It will not work, nor will man!"

This might seem a little nervy, and you might entone me "scurvy",
  But it worked far better than those terrors I had used before.
Thrum!  My phones were always ringing - ever' month I spent a-singing
  As I went about in search of things to add two digits more.
  What a time in Greenwich! - men adored me like no one before.
    I felt, then, as strong as Thor.

Think in this that I was greedy?  I thought of myself as needy!
  I imagined Northern living, stepping off of this rat race.
If I grooved my little (bleep) off, like that engineer named Kirkhoff,
  Anon I'd bring forth a big nest egg, find a little northern place.
  Me and her might settle down, might live the flannel life some place.
    Maybe northern outer space?

So, I stepped up my endeavor - I was thriving, monstrous clever!
  And I hired several helpers to assist me with my scheme.
"Now," I said, "I need a logo." - first I thought of the name "Gogo",
  Since the "Waiting for Godot" plan seemed a rather fitting theme;
  I won't tell how long I spent in this diverting midday dream -
    Then I stopped for tea and cream.

Was I done then?  No, sirree man!  I got started planting oat bran,
  'Cause you never know...hum...all the food around might disappear!
"One stop planning!" - so the ads ran - "Chips of both kinds, every corn, man!"
  And the orders flooded in, for front-dried pond fish, fresh corn ears.
  Bluebush, too, and canned goods guaranteed to last over a year.
    Had to finger a cashier.

As the nineteen-nineties ended, and my bran account extended,
  I decided after Y-to-k my ease was not years off.
So I started reading law books, hanging out in library nooks,
  So that I could delve into the art of suing one's pants off.
  Yes, for sure, I'll make a bundle sinning, sending pants right off!
    I'll reap quite a big rip-off.

One day as I chomped on horn-backs, suddenly was anticlimax!
  Y-to-k had come and gone then:  nothing but a minor "hmph"!
I had merely one misgiving - that the Spice Girls still were living -
  Otherwise, the Bronx survived; no terrors - everyone was well.
  No apocalypse had come; it wasn't (darn!) a living hell.
    Softly pealed th'veranda bell.

It's two thousand one - I'm spinning, in my parlor I am nestling,
  Near a torrid bust of Turing just above my north throne door;
Every morn I'm merely thankful, that he helped to make my bank full
  As I think of Thatcher, COBOL rooms, other damn dinosaurs;
  And this life of leisure those contingents did to me outpour
    Shall be lifted - nevermore!