I think when I write so often, I lose those people who might like to follow a blog, because they can't keep up with it. Still, this seems to be a period when I'm encountering a series of "little proofs." Not the knock-your-socks-off stuff, which I have, in fact, come across on a few occasions. I could list those for you, and your skeptical mind would reel back a bit, recover, and find some explanation for it. You may have read that the body has an internal themometer, which sets what your subconscious mind thinks is your "normal weight." The subconscious mind also seems to have a similar mechanism for your belief system. So if I hit you with what one might call "profound proofs," your subconscious mind will endeavor to recover from that, generating normal explanations, until in three or four days, you will be back to "status quo."
At that point I will have blown my wad, as it were, to no good effect. Kind of like a girl who goes for broke and completely undresses before a guy she's crazy about, and he's still not interested. Then what?
Sorry for the analogy, I'm just writing off-the-cuff, here...
I suppose I could have reversed the genders, and had a guy doing his best wheelie stunt in front of a girl, and she's still not impressed, so then what?
Anyway, I've learned not to try to bowl people over when they're resisting, or more accurately, when their mind is resisting. Because it's not entirely conscious, or intentional. So instead, I find myself sharing these "little proofs" as they come up in my research. These are the indicators, like a "word to the wise," that something real is going on, here. For those with "ears to hear." And that's one good thing about pushing the limits of my readers' tolerance, that I end up with the people who are really serious--that, and anyone who just happens to land on this blog by accident, I suppose.
So, last night, I ran into another of my past-life poems, and briefly, here's how it happened. In a letter to his brother, Mathew mentions that he is involved with a Spiritualist society, there in Portland, Maine, which meets at two locations. One of them he calls "Piano-Forte Hall." He's joking about the name, per usual, and it took me a long time to figure out exactly what he was talking about. Turns out it's a three-story piano store, with a space for lectures. I found one picture of it in an old advertisement, and I had the whim to use it where I quote this letter. But really-speaking, I prefer to have originals. This is a relatively low-resolution copy on an antique piano store's website. So I thought that ad might possibly be in some of the old Portland newspapers I already have in my collection.
I got out the volume for 1856, and it turns out I had actually looked for it, before. The ad wasn't being run in that edition (I've just e-mailed the store, to see whether they'll send me a higher-res digital copy). But while I was in there, looking for that ad, I noticed a poem signed "F-----." When I had previously looked through this volume, I wasn't so clear that Mathew had often used variations of his middle initial, "F" (for "Franklin") as a signature. I also hadn't found very many examples of his poetry, so I wasn't familiar, yet, with his preferred style.
This poem is almost certainly his. It's dated from May 7, 1856. Some years ago I had remembered, with some "inner goosing" from my astral wife, Abby, that as Mathew, I proposed to her on May Day. I have evidence substantiating that, which I won't go into, here, but for many years after Abby's death, he would get the "anniversary blues" and write something on May Day. This was the 1856 example, and I'll share it in its entirety, in a minute.
But I have also felt that Mathew was the original author of "The Raven," the poem attributed to Edgar Allan Poe--the one that basically put him on the map as a poet. A few months ago I thought to see what Poe's natural style actually was, and I ran across an early poem called "Lenore." It's totally different from "The Raven." Meanwhile, going back to 1843--two years before "The Raven" was published--Mathew was writing poetry in that style. There's a lot of research, and quite a number of discoveries, which are relevant. I can't clinch this one--I would need an admission by Poe in private correspondence, or a diary, or at least a similar assertion in Mathew's private writing, and I have found nothing that compelling. Just strong hints and inferences and such. I have enough of these clues, that put together, the picture is pretty clear that Mathew was, in fact, the original author.
But it's not my intention, here, to convince anyone. It's all in my book, for an open-minded person. Here, I thought I'd just share this poem. What this is, is Mathew's natural, personal style when he is expressing grief, and when he is dealing with it by bringing Stoic philosophy to bear upon it.* Mathew had studied metaphysics deeply, but in particular, given his personality and upbringing (his father believed in using toughening training on his boys), Mathew had especially studied the ancient Stoic philosophers. So this is what he is bringing to the table, to fight his grief, even 15 years after Abby's death. It is no accident, by the way, that the "bust of Pallas" appears in "The Raven." But that's another story.
You will note a reference to a memory of Abby singing to him, triggered by hearing a tune. This is not the first such reference I have run across. Clearly, Abby was a musician who played and sang for Mathew, privately. One of the earliest past-life memories of this lifetime that came to me, was of Abby playing piano for Mathew the very first time, and of him falling in love with her. Over the years, I have run across numerous references to Abby playing piano and singing, including in her own short-stories. How this might tie in to the Spiritualist meetings being held over a piano store, I have no idea. Probably, there is a tie-in of some kind, though this store opened in 1850, nine years after Abby's death. Most of the time, all I get is feelings and impressions. The piano-playing memory was an exception. So did Abby personally know the people who launched this store, through her musical activities? Or did Mathew gravitate toward musical people, and piano concerts, in her memory, so that he came to know these shop owners? I'll bet there's some connection, but there aren't enough clues, here, to tie it in. I haven't even speculated about it in the book.
Here is Mathew's poem, which I discovered last night. Always, I can feel the back-story in these poems. It has taken him a week to write this one, and it is more polished and more sophisticated than usual. He has dated it from the time he finished it, though he must have begun it, say, late on the evening of the 1st. He is still desperately trying to grapple with grief--the kind which threatens to overwhelm you, if you don't do something--by bringing philosophy to bear on it. I don't think I need to paraphrase that philosophy--the poem is pretty straightforward in that regard. This is the way of life, it's been going on since time-immemorial, we are just specks, and all of that.
None of this actually works, let me tell you. I have a whole different solution, today--because this same grief didn't end with that lifetime. It followed me into this lifetime, and when I was in grade school--I think it might have been sixth grade--and encountered "The Raven" in English studies, I couldn't bear to read it all the way through. I'm not making that up--I remember it very clearly. I was, what, 12 years old, and in so much grief I couldn't finish reading it. I didn't remember who I was grieving for, nor did I question how that was possible, or what the heck was going on. Who, actually, would I have been able to share that with? I had no conceptual framework for it. I just felt it, and I set that poem aside.
Here is Mathew's poem, "The River Time," which is designated as having been written "for the paper," which means it isn't something the editor picked up from some other source. I could show you poems in roughly this style that Mathew wrote, running all the way from 1843, two years before "The Raven" was published, to 1870. But again, that's not my purpose, here...
THE RIVER TIME.
There is a mighty, mighty river,
Flowing onward, flowing ever,
And its waters quiet never;
With a rolling surge sublime—
Are onward to the ocean flowing,
Through the realms of Nature going—
It is called the “River Time.”
Life is but a toiling atom
On the river’s rolling bosom,
Like some pebble from the bottom
Rudely forced into the stream;
Borne upon the wave a moment
But to struggle in the current,
And to sink from off the scene.
Yet the soul would tarry longer;
Of the earth, grows fond and fonder,
Wishing that its bark were stronger—
For the future, bright and fair,
Never shows a sign of sorrow,
But reveals a fair to morrow,
And our hopes all centre there.
There is a fair land up the stream
That sometimes may be dimly seen—
And in thought we often seem
To stay the downward flow,
And dwell among the scenes we loved,
And cherish them who were removed
From us so long ago—
And sometimes down the river, comes,
Wafted by the breeze along,
Perchance, some well-remembered song
That once we loved to hear;
And above the water’s roar,
Sweet notes, that we have heard before,
From lips so young and fair.
But the tide is rolling on,
Bearing all the freight along,
With a rapid current, strong,
To the ocean just below.
Thus have ages passed away,
For “Old Time” knows no delay
In the ever endless flow. F——.
Portland, May 7, 1856.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*I should also mention that Mathew prided himself on his originality; and where he imitated anyone's style, he explicitly said so. That this poem is so much in the style of "The Raven," and yet, Mathew did not see fit to mention it by way of a disclaimer, tells us something in and of itself. In short, Poe may have used his poem--perhaps with his permission, at the time, or perhaps not--but he couldn't own Mathew's style, and Mathew felt free to continue writing in it as he saw fit.
Music opening this page: "First Snow" by Skywalk, from the album, "Silent Witness"
(Solo by Graeme Coleman)