The Raven's Claw

Sara's Story: The Raven’s Claw

Once upon a graveyard eerie, there I wandered damp and dreary,
Upset to be left waiting in a Parisian freak downpour.
I wandered quite impatient, through the gravestones of the ancient,
Suddenly there came so soft and faint, a sound like ‘raven’s claw’
‘Tis this weather’ I did mumble, ‘hissing like a raven’s claw,
Only wind and nothing more.’

With my patience wearing thin for no sign of friend or kin,
And the cold rain reaching skin, made my head severely sore.
After drinking nights in Paris I knew absinthe caused that hiss,
Still hung over from the abyss that was the night before.
The smell of liquorice still lingered from that night before.
To be repeated nevermore.

So I found myself alone, next to Sartre and Simone,
The names engraved in stone immortal there for evermore.
But, barely there through the gloom, a trinket on that timeless tomb,
Thrilled me, filled me with such doom I had never felt before,
A wave of nausea overwhelmed me I had never felt before.
A disembodied Raven’s claw.

But the black skin shining bright, in such an atmospheric light.
Bewitched me to the sight of that wretched bird less claw.
And I snatched it from its shrine, so eager it be mine,
Oh what a heinous, beastly crime, of which such a burden bore.
A stolen trinket from dead lovers of which such a burden bore.
Oh my precious Raven’s Claw.

As I stared at my new token, I was startled at the stillness broken,
By my friend so softly spoken, appearing through the dark downpour.
Staring at its twisted shrivelled skin, she said ‘that’s a cursed thing,
It gives your dreams just by wishing, so says the legends lore,
But I warn you against wishing, as does the legends lore.
For three wishes, and no more.’

Much I marvelled the unlikely tale; sure the ghastly foot would fail,
And her premonition little meaning- little relevancy bore.
How such a small and lifeless limb could grant a wish on just a whim
And of the end an omen grim, made no sense of common law.
This wretched dried bit of crow could not break common law,
Just a wish and nothing more.

Deep into that downpour peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
The only wish I had, I dared to mention, this my life’s sole intention,
So with angst and apprehension I held aloft the Raven’s Claw,
And wished for artistic recognition on that awful Ravens Claw.
Asked and wished and nothing more.

Then me thought the air grew lighter, the clouds soft, and sky brighter.
But my friend was taut with horror at my gluttonous outpour,
‘Just the pinnacle of foolish, to want for fame, fame is selfish,
You’ll rue the day you ever wished upon that cursed Ravens Claw’
‘No fame can it bequeath me it is just a shriveled Ravens Claw’
‘Still and lifeless evermore.’

But my answer made no difference, though no omen came, or hindrance,
Only champagne followed champagne once we reached the English shore.
Through the galleries of the East End I became a London legend,
Round the coast, and middle England I could not have wished for more.
Though I kept that twisted talon I never thought to wish for more,
T’was coincidence, nothing more.

And I kept made my shameful secret, never thinking to regret
Never thinking of that graveyard or Parisian freak downpour,
Till one day grey and overcast, I felt the grip of that claw, my past
Squeeze my heart so tight, so fast, I fell writhing to the gallery floor.
In front of crowds I lay coughing, gagging on the gallery floor,
Blackness only, nothing more.

I awoke above the panicking crowd, on some invisible low cloud,
And a ghastly realization burned right to my bosom’s core
That I was a phantom, here a mist, oh that it all should come to this,
It was just one stupid wish on that wretched god forsaken claw
My soul, for just one wish, on that pointless craven’s claw,
In purgatory, forevermore.

There I flew engaged in guessing but no syllable expressing,
No voice to scream the horrors of missing flesh so new and raw
I was ghostly silence to my friend; all phantom speech remained unkenned,
So I watched my coffin descend, through the dark cemetery floor.
There my named engraved in stone upon that dark cemetery floor
Immortal there forevermore.

And in my lonely silenced hell, I could only watch my fame swell,
As death took me from artistic recognition to absolute adore,
From England, Europe, Santa Fe, then all across the USA,
My name swept wider everyday, and haunts me evermore.
That ghastly cursed foot had worked and haunts me evermore,
Immortal now, nothing more.

Fowl foot thought I, could it be, this claw has two wishes left to me
I will wish for life, wish to live and breathe and nothing more.
For living flesh on living bone, I will beat this claw of crone,
No long ethereal days alone, I will be of substance soon once more,
Let my heart beat up a moment I will be of substance soon once more.
And defeat that Raven’s Claw.

My friend had left that claw of doom, a top my humble Highgate tomb
As a warning to all others who would think to wish for more
So with angst and apprehension, a wish, barely dared to mention
A wish, of such strange intention, oh raven release me I implore,
Give me flesh and bone and breath, I beg you, I implore.
Blackness now, nothing more.

Have I awoken? Am I still dead? I feel breathe though lungs of lead.
What is this blackness around my head, and silken velvet floor?
Six walls seem to encage me, oh claw of crone you enrage me,
Once again you upstage me, am I now your coffin boar,
This eternal trapped damnation, as your immortal coffin boar,
Captured here forevermore.

As panic held me, that air tight room, beating out my timeless tomb,
Terror filled me – thrilled me such fantastic torture never felt before,
As my hand touched foreign skin, oh the evil wretched thing,
Here to live with me in sin, here to mock me just once more.
But a third wish, oh the third wish, made me hold it just once more,
I wish abyss and nothing more.

The rhyming scheme of this was appropriated from the poem below, which is well worth reading if you dont know it.


sarah el said...

Nice one Sara. The poem is a good take on 'The Raven'. Difficult to do...and I think you have captured the spookiness of it.
kate leader

sarah el said...

I know that this poem is not a copy as such and just uses the structure of both 'The Monkey's Paw' and 'The Raven' but I found this quote which reminded me of your practice.

It's from 'Art Restoration' by FrancisKelly.

'Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) employed many artists and assistants with whom he collaborated on paintings. Prominent amongst them was the subsequently celebrated artists Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641). In a letter to an English collector, Sir Dudley Carlton, Rubens wrote quite candidly regarding a copy of his own work by a pupil. This was noted by Sepp Schuller in his book Forgers, Dealers and Experts. Rubens wrote, ''As this reproduction is not yet quite completed I am going to retouch it throughout myself, so that it can pass for an original if necessary.'' He further wrote in regard to other copies, ''I have retouched them to such effect that they can hardly be distinguished from the originals...they are perfect miracles at the price.''