Poetry. Prose. Poes.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 12:44AM
Jennifer

I promised to tell you what I did for my birthday -- after the first wave of parties, on which I've already reported.

Well here you go: TG took me to Baltimore, to visit the grave of Edgar Allan Poe.

That's me (the first picture -- not the second) on the afternoon of my birthday, paying my respects to the author of The Raven.

It may not seem like much to you, but to me it was a big deal.

I mean, consider that my car -- a black Cadillac -- is nicknamed The Raven. Its license plate is NVRMORE. And there's a stuffed raven in the back window. Which shall be lifted nevermore!

(Although, said raven was lifted out so as to receive a sprucing up via spray-painting before we left South Carolina bound for Virginia and Maryland.)

(He'd faded in the South Carolina sun. Yes; TG taped over his eyes and beak so as to leave them shiny.)

And so it was that, on the day before my birthday, we set out for Richmond, Virginia.

There's a historic cemetery in Richmond that I'd wanted to visit for many years. Three presidents are buried there. I'll tell you about that on another day, and show you many pictures.

On my birthday we had a leisurely morning and then continued on to Baltimore, arriving there at around four in the afternoon.

We went straight to Poe's grave, even before checking in to our hotel.

TG let me out at the curb because traffic was heavy, and went to find a parking spot, which took longer than either of us would have liked.

It was extremely cold and windy. I was not dressed warmly enough so, after spending about fifteen minutes with EAP, I began walking quickly around, taking pictures.

The Gothic Revival Westminster Hall was once a Presbyterian church; now the building is used only for secular purposes. The Burying Ground, which surrounds it, is meticulously maintained.

There are some late eighteenth-century graves as well as many from the early part of the nineteenth century. 

The graves wrap all the way around the church and even continue in a crawl space under a breezeway, where I was bent nearly double in order to take a few pictures. For you!

Not to worry; it was well-lit because it goes all the way through to the front of the church.

Where there are yet more graves.

Edgar Allan Poe's grave and monument is situated directly inside an ornate black wrought iron gate, just a few feet from the corner of Fayette and Greene Streets in downtown Baltimore.

He is flanked by his mother-in-law, Maria Poe Clemm (who was also his aunt) and his wife, Virginia Clemm Poe (who was also his cousin). Their epitaphs appear on the sides of his monument.

They're three Poes in a pod. 

Edgar Allan Poe died at the age of forty, in October of 1849. Virginia predeceased him in January of 1847, at the age of twenty-four. She died of tuberculosis; the exact cause of Poe's demise remains a mystery.

Less than a week after Poe collapsed on Lombard Street in Baltimore and was taken to the Washington Medical College, where he died after four days of fever and delirium, he was placed in an unmarked grave in the rear of Westminster Presbyterian Church, about a hundred yards from where he is now interred.

He lay in that grave from 1849 until 1875, when concerned citizens who had labored for twelve years to raise the money for a new and better resting place and a monument befitting his stature, moved Poe to the front of the burying ground. 

On Poe's otherwise flawless monument, the wrong date is given for his birth -- it's January 19, 1809, but is listed as January 20.

Later, a proper stone was placed on a plot that purports to be Poe's original burial site. It lists the date when he was placed in that grave two days after his death, until the date his remains were moved to his new seat on the front row.

Also in the cemetery are many of Poe's relatives other than his mother-in-law and wife, including his brother, William Henry Leonard Poe (also a writer), and his grandfather, David Poe, Sr.

What a treat it was to spend an hour among them, and others whose lives are commemorated there.

There's lots more to tell about our trip, but I'll save it for another day.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday

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