Poe’s Pain for His Lost Love


Katherine's sketched interpretation of Poe's poem

I had never experienced any of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings before.  When I first started learning about him, I thought he was creepy.  I read about his mental and physical problems including alcoholism and his mysterious death.  As I heard more about his background, I started to change my mind.  I realized the reasons for the darkness in his mind.  

Recently, I read his poem, “Annabel Lee.”  As I read it, I noticed the way he rhymes within each of his stanzas.  He focuses on fantasy and imagination.  For instance, he writes about his love, seraphs (angels), and a kingdom by the sea.  He talks about how Annabel Lee dies and his strong love for her.

I related the poem to his real life.  This connects to what happened to his wife, Virginia, who died in 1847, just two years before he wrote the poem.  Like Annabel Lee, Virginia was Edgar Allan Poe’s only true love.  They were like a single being.  He felt that his soul was connected to her soul.  This shows how strong their love was for each other.  

It seems that Poe only cared about his love for his wife.  He didn’t care what others might think.  Similarly, in the poem, the speaker says, “But our love it was stronger by far than the love / Of those who were older than we– / Of many far wiser than we.”  I could see how his love for her was so strong.  He wouldn’t be alive without her.  I believe that his two years without her were the worst years of his life.  It was only two years, but it felt like a very long time to him.  He says, “It was many and many a year ago” as if it was twenty years or a century without his love.  

As I read this poem, I could imagine what was happening to him in each stanza.  I picture his expression as he feels so sad without her.  In my sketch, I drew him by the sea, totally alone.  There is a cold wind around him, and he spends his nights looking at the moon thinking about Annabel Lee as he sleeps by the sea near her sepulcher.  This shows he doesn’t want to leave her, even when she’s not physically there.  Sometimes you don’t have to be together and your love can still live in your heart.