Well & Wise takes a short break from health and wellness to wish the Ravens well in New Orleans!
Return of the Raven
by Mark Cochran (With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)
Once upon a January, while I watched and worried, wary
As the mighty Broncos played the underdogs from Baltimore
While the press continued fanning all the flaming praise of Manning
And the Vegas boys were planning for the Denver team to score
Suddenly there came a tapping as of some one gently rapping,
rapping on Destiny’s door—
“‘Tis the visitors” I muttered, “tapping at Destiny’s door—
Just a tap, and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate losing effort threw us closer to the floor.
Eagerly we all were pleading, can’t someone please stop the bleeding
As we slipped down in the seeding all the way to number four
Gone the rare and radiant top seeds, and the bye weeks they secure -
Not this year for Baltimore.
Yet the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic hopes that I had felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis the visitors entreating entrance at Destiny’s door—
entreating entrance like so many losing teams before
This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I’d stopped hoping, and prepared to begin coping
And to minimize my moping when you tapped upon that door,
I scarce was sure I even heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered “Baltimore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the “Baltimore”—
Merely this and nothing more.
And then I saw a long pass flying, and Jacoby running by ‘em!
In there stepped the stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, he reached right out and tied the score.
Perched upon the ruined Manning as the kick o’er crossbar soared
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Won’t the Denver fire keep burning? Won’t they do more kick returning?
Won’t Peyton and the tide be turning once again ‘gainst Baltimore?
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
As I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of screen one Sunday more.
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This week’s challenge surely may be even tougher, they have Brady,
the One who writers say is maybe better than all Ones before.
They led the league this year in scoring. The networks cannot stop adoring, the Vegas crowd has the spread soaring higher against Baltimore.
Oh little chance that we outscore!
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Won’t they – won’t they wicked beat us?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
And as I watched not yet believing, a victory beyond conceiving,
a thorough thrash all doubts relieving as Brady simply couldn’t score.
Boldin catching, Flacco throwing, no matter how the wind was blowing,
The Purple-clad were cawing, crowing. Thrilling us down to the core
All the fans of Baltimore
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell us will we yet be vanquished. Will our dreams be left to languish?
Will our hearts be filled with anguish as it has in years before?
Does dark disappointment dwell defeating us beyond the door?
Do we have a fall in store?
Will our leader, Flacco stumble? Will our half or fullbacks fumble?
Can our newfound dreams just crumble, and lie in pieces on the floor?
Can some Manning incarnation, or a Brady imitation,
or some new QB sensation bring trouble that we can’t endure?
Will we come this far and fail to reach the promised shore?
Spoke the Raven : ”Nevermore”
And the Ravens, never quitting still are running, throwing, hitting.
Fatihfully their namesake fitting. Relentless as that bird of yore.
And their eyes have all the seeming of a champion that’s dreaming,
As the field lights o’er them streaming shows a team like none before.
And my voice, and all the others raise the roar from Baltimore,
To be silenced – nevermore!