Edgar Allen Poe and Joyce Kilmer

Edgar Allen Poe and Joyce Kilmer

At the Bouchercon, I was on a panel about Poe with John Lutz and Peter Lovesey, both of whom share my interest in Poe and had done deep background research on him over the years.  Sue Grafton read from a contemporary obituary of Poe that started the rumor of his having been an opium addict.  Although he was a heavy drinker, there’s no evidence that Poe used drugs, and John Lutz commented that some scholars think Poe may have been bi-polar. John added that we don’t have any material that comes from when Poe was cycling up–it’s all from the depressive times.  John wondered what would have happened to Poe’s reputation if he had written “Trees,” which inspired me to scribble a few lines for the panel.  A number of people in the audience wanted a written edition, so here it is:

I think that I shall never see

Murder committed by a tree

Unless a woodsman takes an ax

And gives that sucker 40 whacks

While some poor fool–perhaps it’s me–

Walks beneath that falling tree