Written in 1992 in the face of the Virginia legislative proposal to make Edgar Allan Poe the state poet and an editorial push by Charlottesville's Daily Progress to beat Maryland to the punch, inasmuch as that state could also lay claim to the Poe legacy. The name José in the final verse is a play on the first two words of the national anthem. In an editorial response to this poem on February 8, 1992, the Daily Progress conceded the issue. The Poe bill was not passed.

Poe in "Key" Perspective

by David C. Brand


                                                                      A vote for Poe
                                                   has Old Dominion clapping,
                                               and what's mo'
                                                   it caught old Baltimore napping.

                                               You may think it nice
                                                   that Poe's in the bag,
                                               but think about it twice
                                                   next time you face the flag.

                                               If we have Edgar,
                                                   dare we gloat
                                               with Francis Scott Key
                                                   in their boat?

                                               Poe has mastered
                                                    murder mystery--
                                                    we all know it;
                                               Key has captured
                                                    a glimpse of history--
                                                    a nobler poet.

                                               Watch Maryland smile
                                                     if you think we got their goat
                                               when they have the Key
                                                     locked in their boat.

                                               I'll Grant Richmond
                                                   (if you'll pardon the pun)
                                               that perhaps Edgar Allan
                                                   was not psychotic;
                                               but you'll never spoil
                                                   old Baltimore's fun
                                               for she can lay claim
                                                   to the Key's patriotic

                                               Some have alluded
                                                   to Poe at UVA;
                                               he could not be recruited
                                                   at West Point to stay.
                                               His genius as a poet
                                                   who would dare gainsay?
                                               Put the Rue Morgue in our Richmond
                                                   for the murders of today,
                                               but to glorify the Deathwatch
                                                   I can only say, "No way!"

                                               By Madison's appointment
                                                   the Key did intercede;
                                               on a British ship retreating
                                                    his friend he saw in need.
                                               More than a poet--Francis,
                                                    a patriot indeed!

                                               I will not further press the point
                                                   of the attorney of D. C.,
                                               But Amontillado's Cask
                                                   is not my cup of tea;
                                               nor do I wish to stifle
                                                   your giggle and your glee,
                                               but won't you please consider
                                                   "José, can you see?"