before            (in the past; earlier-in front; ahead)

and along comes Frāglen rapping

gently tapping upon chamber door

before stepping into the eternal echo

of hearing NEVERMORE

before the Queen of the South arises

before the men of Nineveh speak

before one reaches out to touch

that ancient Raven’s beak

before to the very edge of the end

earthly travels and all the Dust cease

before coming back ‘round that black ‘ol bend

and the soul at long last is released