A picture of a "goth" woman riding a subway with her pet raven has gone viral.
In the snapshot, the darkly attired woman is sitting down while the large raven perches on her leg, reports the Daily Mail.
The picture was posted to Twitter on April 29 by Max Sparber, who captioned it: "Sure, you're goth, but are you dejectedly riding the subway with your raven goth?"
Sparber's blog site, "Dress British, Think Yiddish," identifies him as a playwright and journalist who lives in Minneapolis. His bio details his background:
Max was born to Irish-American parents and adopted by a Jewish family when he was just a few weeks old. Max was raised in a Reform Jewish household but attended an Orthodox high school, and in college, majored in Jewish studies, including creating a short-lived program in Yiddish for his fellow students. Max has worked as an arts and cultural critic for more than two decades, including stints at City Pages and MinnPost in Minneapolis. He is the recipient of a Frank Premack Award for Public Affairs Journalism and his writing has appeared in The Guardian and Tablet Magazine, among others. He is the Community News Editor for American Jewish World.
Some people who commented on Sparber's post drew the obvious connection to Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "The Raven." At least two of them adapted verses from the famous poem with their own words:
"Doomed to ride the train they are / To every station near and far / Never to step out the door / Until the train runs nevermore"
"Once upon a subway dreary, while I pondered with my Raven near me, Over many a quaint and curious bag of groceries from the store..."
Sparber's original post has been retweeted more than 113,000 times since it was shared on April 29, and it has earned over 265,000 likes in two days.
"The Raven," first published in 1845, was written while Poe's wife was dying of tuberculosis, notes Mental Floss. Its immediate popularity made him a celebrity, but earned him little money, and he remained impoverished until his death in 1849 at age 40. More than 170 years later, the poem remains so popular it inspires Twitter comments about a girl with a raven.
In an interview with The Washington Post, University of Virginia English professor Jerome McGann speculated on its enduring appeal:
The poem is like a lively dance on a grave. Its darkness is darkened because it is treated so lightly. Its protagonist comes to us at first as if he could manage his sense of depthless loss with sophistication. And so the poem raises up a little drama in which we can see ourselves, for we all have fears and losses that are so terrible we can only try to handle them as if they weren’t serious or pervasive.