Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Spooky Poems for Halloween

Here's a poem for Halloween from Warwick's past, attributed to the Elizabethan poet and courtier I'm in the process of researching, Lord Brooke Fulke Greville:

In night when colors all to black are cast,
Distinction lost, or gone down with the light;
The eye a watch to inward senses placed,
Not seeing, yet still having powers of sight,

Gives vain alarums to the inward sense,
Where fear stirred up with witty tyranny,
Confounds all powers, and thorough self-offense,
Doth forge and raise impossibility:

Such as in thick depriving darknesses,
Proper reflections of the error be,
And images of self-confusednesses,
Which hurt imaginations only see;

And from this nothing seen, tells news of devils,
Which but expressions be of inward evils.


And above are my three youngest children celebrating Halloween last year. Little devils, perhaps, but not 'evil', like the spirits conjured up by Fulke Greville's poem!

My older children were brought up in the Isle of Man, where they always celebrated Hop-tu-naa (Hop Choo Nay) at Halloween, carrying hollowed-out turnips or pumpkins with candles inside as lanterns and singing a traditional Hop-tu-naa song. Some people believe this descends from a type of ancient New Year celebration rather than being linked to the US-style 'trick-or-treating'. Whatever the truth, these old rural practices are certainly good material for poems!

This is a very short and spooky poem I wrote a few years ago, imagining someone who was half-man, half-nocturnal creature:

Whose Hands Were Made of Velvet

He held up his hands
and they were the place of dreams.

Inside each hairy palm, small softnesses of bats
took root, clinging
with astonished intelligent feet
to a skin-space
sweeter than milk.


Have you ever written a poem for Halloween, or perhaps on a spooky or supernatural theme? Do please email it to me for publication on this blog or - if it's short enough - leave it below as a Comment.

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