Annabel Lee in the Cards

I can’t get enough of this project, and Edgar Allan Poe has me by the throat! His somber poem Annabel Lee overflows with vivid imagery that is well-served by the cards of the tarot. Once again, I’m using both “small” cards and trumps in the visual narrative, and this time a court card sneaks in as well. Poe’s narrator frequently winds up as the Hanged Man and the treacherous Moon is usually present at some point. On the other hand, the Tower is typically far too vehement to ever show up.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,

The 4 of Wands

That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

The 2 of Cups

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,

The 6 of Cups

But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

The Lovers

Annabel #1.JPG

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;

Ace of Swords reversed

So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,

The Knight of Wands

To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The 4 of Swords and the World reversed

Annabel #2.JPG

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)

7 of Swords

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

10 of Swords

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—

Strength and the Hermit reversed (see next tableau)

Annabel #3.JPG

And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea

Judgement reversed and the The Devil reversed

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

10 of Cups

Annabel #4.JPG

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

The Moon

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

The Star

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulcher there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

5 of Cups and the Hanged Man

Annabel #5.JPG


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