It is well known that Edgar Allan Poe lived a tortured life. His writings reflect this dark reality. There is one poem though that stands out as an exception. The story behind the poem is that one day over the noisy din and clamor of the street Poe heard the clear ringing of a church bell. Intrigued, he followed the noise and arrived at a church staffed by the Jesuits. Going inside he asked the reason for the ringing of the bell. He was informed that the bell was being rung to signal the Angelus – the traditional noon-time prayer which reflects on Mary’s “yes” to the announcement of the archangel Gabriel. Inspired by this, he wrote the following poem.
At morn–at noon–at twilight dim–
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe–in good and ill–
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee
Now, when storms of Fate o’ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.
On tomorrow’s feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8th) and also on the upcoming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12th) the Church, once again, rings the bell for the Angelus in the midst of the deafening din and clamor of our world; calling us to remember the truth and the precious beauty of the hope that has been given our world by the incarnation of our Lord and by Mary’s simple “yes”.