Another New World – Josh Ritter

The fleeting Bostonian love affair, Ms. Annabel Lee.

In the same year Captian Schroeder arrived in San Francisco, California, Edgar Allen Poe penned his enchantment; a short note of love lost to the bitter cold reapers of a New England Nor-Easter. One-hundred sixty years later, long after Poe’s demise on the streets of Baltimore, the melancholy moon still holds the sea as the sea holds the clouds as the clouds hold the cold bitter wind and the bitter wind graces her sepulcher by the sea.
2,500 miles across two mountain ranges, where a Western wind harshens the soul, American singer song-writer, Josh Ritter of Moscow, took up the very same tragic love, sailing Annabel Lee into the ever-new world of the raging Arctic sea. Another New World bemoans the bitter-sweetness of eternal partners in love. Partners in the adventure, lost by the sea is lost to the sea becomes lost because of me and the survivor suffers the worser fate, drink and decline.

An Annabel LeeRitter’s sea-worthy adaptation on Poe, speaks to the eager helmsman and cautions of the risk in such an amorous endeavor of escape and truth, while simultaneously encouraging life lived in anticipation and hope. What’s more, to forever embrace her presence for she has found the New World, and it is the survivor who is lost.

Annabel Lee

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

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

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;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

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

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea. – Poe

Another New World

Listen to the 2010 Josh Ritter Day Trotter Session

An Annabel Lee 2

The leading lights of the age all wondered among themselves what I would do next,
After all that I’d found, in my circles around the world, was there anything left?
“Gentlemen,” I said, “I’ve studied the maps, and if what I am thinking is right,
There’s another new world, at the top of the world, for whoever can break through the ice,”

I looked ’round the room, in that way I once had, and I saw that they wanted belief,
So I said, “All I’ve got are my guts and my God,” then I paused, “and the Annabel Lee.”
Oh, the Annabel Lee, I saw their eyes shine, the most beautiful ship in the sea,
My Nina, my Pinta, my Santa Maria, my beautiful Annabel Lee

That spring we set sail, and the crowd waved from shore, and on board the sailors waved caps,
But I’d never had family, just the Annabel Lee, so I never had cause to look back.
I just studied the charts, set the course north, and towards dark I drifted toward sleep,
And I dreamed of the fine, deep harbor I’d find past the ice, for my Annabel Lee.

After that it got colder, and the world got quiet. It was never quite day or quite night.
And the sea turned the color of sky turned the color of sea turned the color of ice.

After that all around us was vastness, one glassy desert of arsenic white,
And the waves that once lifted us, shifted instead into drifts against Annabel’s sides.
And the crew gathered closer, at first for the comfort, but each morning would bring a new set
Of tracks in the snow, leading over the edge of the world, til I was the only one left.

And as the going got slower, colder and colder, my crew drifted closer to me,
At first for the comfort, but then it was more like the icebergs rammed Annabel Lee
As the floes shrieked her hull, the shouting began, and a mast snapped off in the wind,
And I woke up much later, my crew disappeared, and they never were heard from again

After that it gets cloudy, but it feels like I laid there for days, or maybe for months
But Annabel held me, the two of us happy, just to think back on all we had done

I told her {We talked) of the other new worlds, we’d discover as she gave up her body to me.
As I chopped up her mainsail for timber, I told her of all that we still had to see.
As the ice {frost} turned her moorings to nine-tails and the wind lashed her sides in the cold,
I burned her to keep me alive every night in the loving embrace of her hold.

I can’t {won’t} call it rescue, what brought me back here to this old world to drink and decline,
Pretend that the search for another new world was well worth the burning of mine.

But sometimes at night, in my dreams, Comes the singing of some unheard tropical bird,
And I smile in my sleep, thinking Annabel Lee’s finally made it to the top of the world.

Yeah, sometimes at night in my dreams comes the singing of some unheard tropical bird,
And I smile in my sleep, thinking Annabel Lee’s finally found another new world. – Ritter

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1 thought on “Another New World – Josh Ritter

  1. That’s some beautiful tragedy. Great review, thanks.

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