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The Orangutan

April 2, 2012 11:46 a.m.

Walter Ritter reads the Poe-inspired student poem "The Orangutan" by Ronan Elliott.

Related Story: The Big Read: Shades of Poe


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Once upon a dreadful evening, while my insulted guests were leaving,
And refused to grant forgiveness that I continued to implore,
Saying, “Cease your mocking drama, for my mother’s not a llama,
and my father is Chinese and not a half-ton angry boar,
Just Chinese and nothing more.

So I sat down brokenhearted as my affronted guest departed,
And I turned my thoughts to pondering my dear deceased Lenore.
‘Twas a long and dreary nighttide as I thought of my Lenore,
Only her and nothing more.

All at once there came a knocking, like angelic voices talking,
(that is, if angels’ voices were like someone knocking on my door).
So I stood and traversed thither, to the door
I cried, “Come hither! For can it be my dearest love is knocking on my door?
O can it be my dear Lenore?

What I saw beyond my door was scary, for in the darkness, something hairy
Stood where I had hoped to find my long-lost love Lenore.
I cried, “Lenore! Come in, I beg you! Although you haven’t shaved your legs,
You will be mine until we land upon death’s distant shore!”
“Hoo Hoo! Ahh Ahh!” quoth Lenore.

I flung the door wide open and in through the door my true love bounded
And swung from chandelier up to the bust above my door.
I spoke, “Lenore, you left me lonesome! But I still love you, though you’ve grown some,
And now you’re much more orange than you ever were before.”
“Hoo Hoo! Ahh Ahh!” quoth Lenore.

Then, mid my moment of elation I was struck hard by realization
For it crushed my heart to realize just who sat above my door.
To me, my love had always mattered, and so my broken heart now shattered.
For an Orangutan sat thither twixt the ceiling and the floor,
An Orangutan sat thither from the stately days of Yore,
An Orangutan and nothing more.