The Saturday Night Special: “The Conquerer Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)

Edgar Allan Poe, circa 1849
Edgar Allan Poe, circa 1849








Lo! ’tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly-
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
Invisible Woe!

That motley drama- oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.

Update: October 18, 2019, My Thoughts on How to Become a Writer

On October 18, I posted a comment on the “Writer’s Digest” article “How to Write a Science Fiction Novel” by Robert Lee Brewer published on August 19, 2019.

The article is well written and gives some good places for a novice to start exploring writing a sci-fi novel and coming to know its trials and travails.  However, I had to throw in my two cents about writing science fiction and writing in general, because I started out reading books on how to write, but it helped me little.  The thought that kept going through mind was that if the author of this book on writing was a great writer, why haven’t I heard of him?  Why isn’t he making a living just writing fiction? Why does he need to write books like this.  Yes, Stephen King wrote a great book on writing, but it’s hard to find another famous author who has.

The key for me to learning how to write has been to read great writers, read their comments on how to write, and to learn everything I can about English grammar (here I have an advantage over most because I have a verifiable knack for linguistics and have college credit in about six languages).  The two books that have helped me more than all the others are The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and Webster’s New World Guide to Punctuation.  Both are very concise and very short and inexpensive. I recommend them highly. Most importantly though is to WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! and READ! READ! READ!

Anyway, here is a link to the “Writer’s Digest” article for your edification and/or entertainment. My comments are currently awaiting moderation, but will hopefully be up soon. It will be interesting to see the responses I receive.

As soon as the comments come up, I will update this article.