The Boardroom

The Boardroom

Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” but for overworked CTOs everywhere.

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Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Raven"

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.”

 

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.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal 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.

 

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!”

 

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.

(Poe, to our knowledge, did not often call people “Shirley”)

 

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.”

 

Much I marvelled 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 blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

With such name as “Nevermore.”

 

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 farther 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.”

 

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’.”

 

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.”

 

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 lamp-light gloated o’er,

But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,

She shall press, ah, nevermore!

 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls 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.”

 

“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.”

 

“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.”

 

“Be that word our sign of 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.”

 

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 lamp-light 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!

 

Written by: Edgar Allen Poe, January 1845

"The Boardroom"

Once upon a morning dreary, sipping coffee, stressed and bleary,

As discussion filled the boardroom of a miserable Q4,

Whilst I nodded, loafers tapping to avoid untimely napping,  

Future roads, we soon were mapping of the revenues in store,

Optimistic (read: delusion) ‘bout the revenues in store,

Leader-schtick–and nothing more.

 

Ah distinctly I remember, ‘twas the middle of December,

Each “strategic team,” each member left their chairs to take the floor.

Corporate platitudes they’d borrow of an opulent tomorrow,

As an existential sorrow drowned my young, ambitious core,

As the sanitized proceedings quashed a young ambitious core–

Just a tool for evermore.

 

As the buzzwords, flung with vigor, aimed our numbers to rejigger,

I controlled the urge to snigger as I surely knew the score:

No more bullets in the pistol, concrete actions, flawed or distal,

Hence the hazy ball of crystal and the platitudes before,

Nothing tangible attaching to the platitudes before,

“Rah rah rah,” and nothing more.

But the meeting rambled longer, and the rhetoric grew stronger,

“We shall rend the competition into blood and guts and gore!”

Soon the lap dogs started lapping, forced to foment with their clapping,

Every comment overlapping with the shibboleths and lore.

Sycophantic repetitions of the shibboleths and lore.

Sound and fury, nothing more.

Soon amidst the domineering, and the vapid, empty cheering,

Rose a voice from engineering, some decorum to restore,

“While I’m rarely so outspoken, you folks surely must be jokin’...

...may I share the joint you’re smokin’?” (he’d been silent heretofore)

“Not the faintest whiff of data drove the discourse heretofore.”

 Leaders grumbled, others swore.

 

An inflection, thus discerning, to the lectern, thus returning,

The critique, a bit concerning to the old esprit de corps,

“We must swiftly acclimate the luddite fools to using data!”

Spoke the C-suite’s oldest mate (a clapping robot just before)

Stole the mike, the room, and meeting after silence just before,

Then he stumbled out the door.

 

Presently, the leader stuttered, knowing where their bread was buttered,

An initiative was crafted prior growth rates to restore

“Surely,” said they, “new reliance on the tools of data science,

With each business head’s compliance, will cause revenue to soar.

With AI, ML, and data, soon our revenue will soar,” 

But the challenge lay in store

(And do not call me “Shirley,” that’s a nickname I abhor)

 

With the tech team, reconciling, massive ticket queues compiling,

Open office plans restyling filled with bean bag chairs galore,

“To construct these data havens filled with academic mavens,

Sack the polo-clad, clean-shavens, hire coders to explore,

Seek the database’s treasures, and this mystery explore!”

Thus, the challenge...and the chore.

 

But the org-chart still was stolid, and the database, still squalid, 

Thus the footing stayed unsolid, from the C-suite to the floor.

Nothing further thus conveying, no alternatives displaying 

Merely monetary praying, proffered prattle at its core,

“Are we nimble?  Can we pivot, shake this boardroom to its core?”

Quoth the maven, “nevermore.”

 

With a culture bureaucratic and a plan unsystematic,

Even leaders charismatic are superfluous decor, 

“Why the snarky disagreeing?  Don’t you find the comments freeing?

What precludes your eyes from seeing?  Can’t we find some geeks offshore?

Isn’t talent on demand, for cheap, accessible offshore?”

Quoth the maven, “nevermore.”

 

Leaders pondered riches fabled from competitors enabled

By AI whose gains belie the cautious planning at their core.

For amidst the boardroom dreaming lay deliberate, thoughtful scheming,

Long before shareholders’ beaming lurked the insight as its ore

Better answers follow questions, mining insight as the ore,

True since Turing’s days of yore.

 

But professional bravado from a boardroom desperado,

Rarely leads to El Dorado, just the fate we all deplore.

So the hours passed in meetings, filled with copacetic greetings

And the periodic beatings as the numbers failed to soar,

Days to weeks to months to quarters as the numbers failed to soar.

Laws of Murphy trumping Moore…

 

Soon the maven, now addressing the frustrations long repressing,

No numerical caressing for the corporate commodore,

For despite the data mining and bean bag chair reclining,

There was little silver lining, for the ship had crashed ashore,

Aspirations of ascension crashed like waves upon the shore–

Damaged brand for evermore.

 

Leaders felt the air grow denser from the flows of unseen tensors,

Every dashboard as a sensor of the suffering in store,

“We will implement suggestions!  We can answer client questions!

Clear these database congestions!  Help, oh maven I adore?

Smooth divisions and dissension, vaunted maven I adore?”

Quote the mAvEn, “nevermore.”

 

“Prophet!” (Vitriol medieval) “Why such technical upheaval?

Simple queries and retrieval bring some knowledge to the fore?”

But the maven sat undaunted by the leaders they had haunted

As the figures leaders wanted sat uncleaned the month before

“Can we now distill perceptions of some sales the month before?”

Quote the mAvEn, “nevermore.”

 

“Profit!” Screamed the leader raging, “And the losses need assuaging!”, 

But the maven, not engaging, neither saint nor warrantor... 

“We’re bereft of corporate baubles, merely internecine squabbles,

Every unit needs their numbers, each bespoke and furthermore…

...can we have this all by Friday, just this once, we swear!” (they swore)

Quoth the mAvEn, “nevermore.”

 

“But the fiscal year is starting!  We need wisdom for imparting

Via random, one-off charting!” did the leader now implore,

“Would you also mind eschewing flagging figures you’re renewing?

There’s a risk of ‘misconstruing’ when we take this to the board.” 

Will you fabricate improvement for the deck we show the board?

Quote the mAvEn, “nevermore.”

 

The reality is tragic, for ML is math, not magic,

Either plan and stay pragmatic or a hellish fate’s in store...

Though the maven, seeming callous to the vaunted corporate palace,

Sipped no Kool-aid from the chalice, just some candor, nothing more,

Inspiration, preparation, execution, nothing more,

Or we prosper nevermore.

Written by: Evan Coopersmith & AE Studio

Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Raven"

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.”

 

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.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal 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.

 

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!”

 

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.

(Poe, to our knowledge, did not often call people “Shirley”)

 

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.”

 

Much I marvelled 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 blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

With such name as “Nevermore.”

 

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 farther 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.”

 

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’.”

 

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.”

 

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 lamp-light gloated o’er,

But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,

She shall press, ah, nevermore!

 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls 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.”

 

“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.”

 

“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.”

 

“Be that word our sign of 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.”

 

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 lamp-light 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!

 

Written by: Edgar Allen Poe, January 1845

Grow at Agency Enterprise

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