For a Late October Evening…okay……Hallowe’en!!

October Evening                                           J Johnson Smith

The moon creeps through the glimmering autumn mist

to hang, a wolf’s eye, scarred by baring branches that loom

overhead as a net to catch the fall.


The dark crowd stands around, silently akimbo

as the fairy ring grows spads of white

that creep and open grey hoods to hide their gills

swaying gently to the rhythm of the breeze.


The beasts, lying in wait in the tall fronds hesitate

at the cry in the night.

The shimmering silence pitched headlong, pierced, strung through

and hung, hanging in the silence. Lost to the darkness,

overlooked by the wolf and the fairies setting their spells.


In the glade, where the beck dreams on

with its hallowed evening song in it’s soft gritty bed,

no soul sees the mingled stream red.


All Hallows Night                             Lizette Woodworth Reese

Two things I did on Hallows Night:—
Made my house April-clear;
Left open wide my door
To the ghosts of the year.
Then one came in. Across the room
It stood up long and fair-
The ghost that was myself-
And gave me stare for stare.

Black Cat                                 Rainer Maria Rilke, 1875 – 1926

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,                                                                                                         she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

The Apparition             John Donne, 1572 – 1631

When by thy scorn, O murd’ress, I am dead
And that thou think’st thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feign’d Vestal, in worse arms shall see;
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tir’d before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
Thou call’st for more,
And in false sleep will from thee shrink;
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bath’d in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie
A verier ghost than I.
What I will say, I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I’had rather thou shouldst painfully repent,
Than by my threat’nings rest still innocent.


Lost; A Plea for Hallowe’en

Lost;  A Plea for Hallowe’en

Lost, one mischievous imp’s trident.
Where and when I can’t be sure
I know it was an accident,
Maybe waiting to happen.
Dropped on the floor, in the gutter?

It was a wet night, a week before Halloween
And I was sent, like the others,
To find my intent, my taunt, my scream.
But I lost it. In the rain. In the alley.
In the runnel where the water streamed
Maybe it fell down a drain.
I watched it, three-pronged and red
With glistening spots of dread
As it slipped, half- turned and flashed at me
To slide gracefully foaming along the dark below.

So I lost it.
You would never see my grin, the glint in my eye
when the poke at your foot broke your heel,
made you trip.
The catch in your eye was me, the shadow by the stair
that flickered or the noise that snickered in the lane came from my lips.

But now I can’t go home, my smile has to be true,
my questions are polite as I ask the local folk
if they have seen my little toy as it drifted away.
Washing along the gutter it went,
I saw the studs flash at me, a devil’s wink
catching in the watery sway.

I’ve lost my nerve, my verve, to jump and skitter
along the street and push you from the kerb
or switch the light on just as you switched it off.
Nor can I put that gnawing little doubt inside your brain
or add a tic, an ache that will not go away.
Where’s the fun, the sweet delight an imp might have
to play a game without my three-pronged device?

I am placid, weak and flaccid, hidden and of no account
without my prodding stick.  So please watch out
and if you see my lost, forlorn trident, pick it up
and rest it on your nearest hedge from where I’ll pinch it
and rejoicing, whirl it round this Hallowe’en and trick and treat like Puck.


j Johnson Smith

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