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Halloween Countdown, Day 5

Today I have two poems for you by Winifred M. Letts.

Both can be found in Hallow-e’en, and Poems of the War (1916).



“Hallow-e'en, 1914” by Winifred M. Letts

“Why do you wait at your door, woman,
Alone in the night?”
“I am waiting for one who will come, stranger,
To show him a light.
He will see me afar on the road
And be glad at the sight.”

“Have you no fear in your heart, woman,
To stand there alone?
There is comfort for you and kindly content
Beside the hearthstone.”
But she answered, “No rest can I have
Till I welcome my own.”

“Is it far he must travel to-night,
This man of your heart?”
“Strange lands that I know not and pitiless seas
Have kept us apart,
And he travels this night to his home
Without guide, without chart.”

“And has he companions to cheer him?”
“Aye, many," she said.
“The candles are lighted, the hearthstones are swept,
The fires glow red.
We shall welcome them out of the night—
Our home-coming dead.”

Ghostly vision

“Hallow-e'en, 1915” by Winifred M. Letts

Will you come back to us, men of our hearts, to-night
In the misty close of the brief October day?
Will you leave the alien graves where you sleep and steal away
To see the gables and eaves of home grow dark in the evening light?

O men of the manor and moated hall and farm,
Come back to-night, treading softly over the grass;
The dew of the autumn dusk will not betray where you pass;
The watchful dog may stir in his sleep but he’ll raise no hoarse alarm.

Then you will stand, not strangers, but wishful to look
At the kindly lamplight shed from the open door,
And the fire-lit casement where one, having wept you sore,
Sits dreaming alone with her sorrow, not heeding her open book.

Forgotten awhile the weary trenches, the dome
Of pitiless Eastern sky, in this quiet hour
When no sound breaks the hush but the chimes from the old church tower,
And the river’s song at the weir,—ah! then we will welcome you home.

You will come back to us just as the robin sings
Nunc Dimittis from the larch to a sun late set
In purple woodlands; when caught like silver fish in a net
The stars gleam out through the orchard boughs and the church owl flaps his wings.

We have no fear of you, silent shadows, who tread
The leaf-bestrewn paths, the dew-wet lawns. Draw near
To the glowing fire, the empty chair,—we shall not fear,
Being but ghosts for the lack of you, ghosts of our well-beloved dead.

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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sittingduck1313
Oct. 5th, 2014 02:34 pm (UTC)
Kenneth Hite recently weighed in on the issue about whether or not the creatures in The Festival are actually byakhee.

http://princeofcairo.livejournal.com/190005.html
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2014 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, cool! Thanks for the link. :)

Edited at 2014-10-07 01:31 pm (UTC)
reynardine
Oct. 5th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
Beautiful poems!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked them, too! I thought they were lovely.

Edited at 2014-10-07 01:32 pm (UTC)
wellinghall
Oct. 5th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
I particularly like that first poem; thank you for introducing me to it.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I'm so glad you liked it.

Edited at 2014-10-07 01:32 pm (UTC)
gilda_elise
Oct. 6th, 2014 10:23 am (UTC)
Such sad, lovely poems. Thanks for posting them. I wonder if she lost someone in the War.

Edited at 2014-10-06 10:23 am (UTC)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2014 01:33 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I agree that they're both lovely and very sad.

Her brief online biography says her husband died in 1943, so perhaps he died in WWII. It certainly sounds as though she may have lost someone in the first War, as well. Very sad.

Edited at 2014-10-07 01:36 pm (UTC)
homespunheart
Oct. 6th, 2014 11:17 am (UTC)
Lovely poems. So tender and sad...very touching.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2014 01:34 pm (UTC)
I found them to be very touching, too. I'm glad you liked them, melancholy as they are.

Edited at 2014-10-07 01:37 pm (UTC)
acciochocolate
Oct. 22nd, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to the BPAL perfume oil based on the 1st poem. :)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 23rd, 2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
I look forward to reading the reviews of that one!

I didn't get it, but I did get several 'Weenies from BPAL this season. I'm especially excited about "Visions of Autumn III."
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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