City Librarian Luis Herrera Recites "The Raven" After Losing Super Bowl Bet
Last week was a dreary week in San Francisco, full of weak and weary souls unable to forget that bleak game in which their proud team's championship hopes ended up as dying embers. Sorrow for the lost Super Bowl! A second championship celebration within four months in front of City Hall's door? Nevermore.
Fitting, then, that the week ended with city librarian Luis Herrera reciting Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," the work that inspired the football team's name, to make good on his losing Super Bowl bet with the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore. Because perhaps no poem better captures the wake of a heartbreaking Super Bowl defeat. Respite -- respite and nepenthe from thy memories of the Super Bowl!
But like "the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling," Herrera sought to erase some of the pain when he sat in the center of the main library's atrium: Few things can induce a smile like the sight of a grown man wearing a football jersey.
If the Niners had won, Enoch Pratt Free Library CEO Carla Hayden would have recited George Sterling's "The Cool, Grey City of Love" in her city's Central Library Main Hall while donning a Niners jersey. But instead, there was Herrera, a good sport in Ray Lewis' purple No. 52 over a light purple dress shirt, perched on a rocking chair in front of a stoic choir. "Congratulations Baltimore, and gooo Niners!" he declared at the end.
It was a mild respite, in the face of deep civic dread. And like Poe's narrator learned while sitting in his chamber on that midnight dreary, the raven serves only as a reminder of loss.
"And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted -- nevermore!"