Note from the Author: This will probably seem a little corny to a lot of you, so let me explain. I know everyone says Howl is a crow. However, I haven't found the book yet so I've only seen the movie. In the movie he seems a little bit more of a raven to me. His room is filled with colorful bobbles and toys and shiny things like that, after all. (Ravens are known to take things of that nature and collect them at their nest.) After coming to this realization, I soon found myself itching to write something collaborating with Edgar A. Poe's famous poem: The Raven. I don't really think I did it justice, but I did have fun writing it. In all, I think all I did was translate the poem like my teacher did in English class one time, and add my own elements of story in between all of that. However, I do hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Howl's Moving Castle in any way, shape, or form. I do NOT own rights to The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. However, I DO own a rather nice book with the poem in it.

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Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."

Howl sat alone in the castle, alone save for the napping Calcifer. It had been months since Sophie had taken ill and died. There was nothing he could do. There was no spell that could save her. No potion strong enough to stop her dying. He had been forced to watch her wither and die. And Markl was only too soon to follow… So that left Howl alone in the living room area of his once happy castle. Howl hated feeling so powerless.

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;–vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow–sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

Calcifer claimed that the only reason why he hadn't left was for his worry for his companion. In truth, Calcifer wondered about his sanity. All the once great wizard does now is sit and mope. Mope about the loss of his one great love: And not with green goop. But the daemon slept on as the darkness finally began to overtake Howl's soul. "Sophie…", the silent wistful word seemed to drift on a non-existent wind.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me–filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."

A knocking sound began to beat a steady tempo into the door. Howl didn't even turn to look at it. Visitors were no longer welcome and the now grounded castle. "It's just a visitor… probably not even that this late. Just the wind." He mumbled to himself.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"–here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

But Howl's familiar was a raven for a reason. The innate curiosity soon overtook his grief-ridden mind. He stood and strode to the door not even heeding how disheveled he must look after months of not moving. "I beg forgiveness for not hearing you the first time! Please enter if you wish." He opened the door to a very dark and empty waste.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Stunned, the wizard Howl stood staring stupidly into the darkness, searching for the noise. "Sophie?" And for a moment, it was as if he had been answered. "Sophie…" A rush of cold entered the room and the door slammed shut once again.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

He dared not move. He knew there was something out there. But where it had gone, he did not know. Until the tapping returned, now from the large window in the kitchen. "Stupid wind, let me drown in my sorrow alone. Let me die, just to be at peace again! But let me rest, that much I do implore." The wind's tapping increased to now a solid sounding bang.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Angered, full of self pity and fear now beginning to grow, he threw open the window only to see... himself. Himself as the bird form he once became on such a regular basis. He stared at the bird form, and it began to smile.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no
craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"I thought I had left you behind to die as a memory as everyone else. Why are you here now? Are you here to ease my pain?" The human asked.

"No."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning–little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

It now occurred to Howl that this form of his had seem to taken life on its own. This was preposterous. He was the only Howl that could exist. He watched as the mockery of himself sat down by Calcifer. "I suppose if you are real, you can say more than no?"

"No."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered–not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown
before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

The word, though only one syllable struck Howl at his core. His curiosity began to rise as he stared at the doppelganger of his fanged bird self. "Friend, you will probably make fine company until you die too. Even Calcifer has given up talking to me. You will probably just die. Die as everyone else is for they were but mortals." As he spoke, he couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't died yet. It was unvoiced, and he waited for his new "friend" to reply to his question.

"No."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never–nevermore'."

Howl gazed with now more than a vague interest at this creature before him. It was him, but not him. It appeared to be able to speak, but only the word. And the word was able to answer his questions. He wondered if it knew what else it could say. He smiled and pulled up another chair, and sat.

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

"What do you mean 'no'. Do you even know what you're talking about? You're probably just a figment of my imagination. At least you're amusing. So then, what do you mean 'no'?"

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

The bird, seeming for the entire world just that now, a bird with his head on it, sat and stared at him expressionlessly. It seemed confused by his sudden outburst. It cocked its head at him as if to ask to say it again.

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee–by these angels he
hath sent thee
Respite–respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Howl ignored this and carried on. "Why are you here!?! Is it to torment me? What wrongs have I ever committed to deserve this!?! You're some daemon, just some daemon here to collect from all my misery and pain. Where's Sophie! I do so miss her! Why can't I just trade you with the gods for her!?!"

This, the bird seemed to understand. "No."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!–prophet still, if bird or
devil!-
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted–tell me truly, I implore-
Is there–is there balm in Gilead?–tell me–tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Howl screeched in fury at the answer. "Don't tell me that! I don't think you understand what that means to me! I hate you! I HATE YOU! Tell me something good! Is it good where you game from? Will I rest easy when I die!?!"

At this, the raven smirked, "No."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil–prophet still, if bird or
devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us–by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Calcifer awoke at the sound of the screech, but all he could see was that Howl was out of his chair. He couldn't see who he was yelling at, but it didn't sound good. 'The poor guy… at least he's busy.' And the fire daemon fell back asleep, too busy worrying about himself instead of his friend when he was needed the most.

Howl himself was now beginning to sprout his black plumage. "If you can tell me what I won't feel, at least tell me you've seen Sophie. Is she happy where she is?"

The bird swelled up in pride at this coming answer. It was what he was sent to deliver. "No!"

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked,
upstarting-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!–quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

A rumble filled the room. "OUT. OUT WITH YOU AND YOUR CURSED SONG OF 'NO'! It can't be true! She has to be happy…" Howl now stood next to his mirror match. "I don't EVER want to see you again. Or even HEAR your evil spell song of 'no'! Leave me in peace!" But with that rage, Howl had sealed his fate. Hatred had broken control over his form and he became what he had nearly been frozen as during the war: A wizard bird. The messenger vanished in a puff of black smoke, its deed done.

Howl is not allowed to be whole if he does not serve as the king's royal wizard. Everyone knows that.

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the
floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted–nevermore!

Every mirror, every puddle of water betrayed him, every reflective surface. Calcifer finally left, seeing the damage was permanent and there was nothing left of his old friend. The bird had never left; it was now the permanent, ruling visage of who was once the great wizard Howl.

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