Scholars have debated the some 20 theories of Poe’s death- and 4 cities- New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Richmond lay claim to being the “city of Poe”.
French poet, Mallarme's tribute follows: "At the Tomb of Poe"-
translated into English by Mallarme himself, although poorly:
Such as into himself at last Eternity changes him
The Poet arouses with a naked hymn;
His century was overawed not to have known
That death extolled itself in this strange voice.
But, in vile Hydra voices, (they) (de note- the critics) once hearing the Angel
Giving too pure a meaning to the words of the tribe,
hearing the poet,
They charged him as always drowned in alcohol!
O clouds, o soil- eternal enemies, o struggle-
I want my words to carve a bas-relief
With which to adorn his tomb!
On that stern basaltic block that falls
From a mysterious and ancient disaster-
A warning against false charges that poets are drunkards
Now and forever after.
The Daisy Aldan translation of Mallarme’s poem:
Le Tombeau d'Edgar Poe
"Just as eternity transforms him at last into Himself,
The Poet rouses with a naked sword
His age terrified at not having discerned
That death was triumphant in his strange voice.
They, like vile Hydra's on hearing this angel
Give a purer meaning to the words of the tribe,
Loudly proclaimed sorcery drunk
In the dishonest flow of some dark brew.
From hostile soil and cloud, o grief!
If our imagination does not carve a bas relief
With which to adorn the shining tomb of Poe,
Silent block of fallen granite here below
From some dim old disaster, let it be a boundary
To foul flights of blasphemy in the future!"
At the Tomb of Poe- david eberhardt
He sinks beneath the surface like a stone,
Sidling crab wise down ‘til buried in mud,
A gold bug thread wise through vacant skull eye down
Into maelstroms of stars. Less and less loud, the thud,
Of shovelfuls above him ... into sidereal time, the tunnel back to light obscured.....
Buried alive as he thought! As if to keep him down, the green
Block from some ancient, obscure disaster - Vermont granite dug,
Ripton quarried, dark green, not jadeite green, an intenser, darker green -
As absinthe, but blacker, still, like “Nevermore”, its dense sheen
Like shiny hair: black hair, Ligea's, Virginia's, Helen's or Lenore's.
Bury the critics alive, I say, Poe careens
Down corridors of light, more drunk than before!!
Upon the stone a raven carved, the words blur, but it's not the end.
Buried alive in our imaginations, he rises eerily, again!
HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY from Blue Running Lights
overlooking the James River, Richmond, Va.
city of Poe, endlessly burning
this poem dedicated to the memory of Suzanne Meyers- she who inspired it!
Past China St., Pine, on Oregon Hill,
(It's not California, but it might as well be),
Ospreys fly up out of cypress like redwoods,
Pure white wisteria against violet porches,
Louisiana, Gulf cities, and porches forever...
The confederacy's gone down, defeat again,
Beyond Belle Island the city's still burning.
My actress mother * buried in disgrace;
Theatre burns, they replace it: a church,
Church burns, back comes the theatre;
All of them burn and all the people in them.
Still the river flows by Belle Island
In its marcel waves and ash brown braids
At the foot of the cemetery where "famous" have markers;
The river licks burning, towers never stop rising
Then falling back in the flames of the theatre.
Funerals wind into tighter, tighter spaces.
"I had not thought death unravelled so many faces." **
Until the stones start repeating themselves.
"A star sets, rises on the other shore",
Like to see you again, babe, but it's nevermore,
"At rest until resurrection and reunion",
"`Til the dawn breaks and the shadows flee,"
May the woman I loved so remember me.
• *Edgar Allen Poe’s
** Dante quoted in Eliot