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Halloween Countdown, Day 24, and POLL!

Halloween pumpkin or jack o lantern 2010 monstrous face light illuminated

Today's the equivalent of "Open Mic Night" here at the Countdown to Halloween...

POLL TIME: What's your favorite spooky poem? Please post it in the comments for everyone to read! Thanks!

I'll kick things off with a few personal favorites...

"Oil And Blood"
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1913)

I tombs of gold and lapis lazuli
Bodies of holy men and women exude
Miraculous oil, odour of violet.
But under heavy loads of trampled clay
Lie bodies of the vampires full of blood;
Their shrouds are bloody and their lips are wet.

"The Grey Thing"
by Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

There is a grey thing that lives in the tree-tops
None knows the horror of its sight
Save those who meet death in the wilderness
But one is enabled to see
To see branches move at its passing
To hear at times the wail of black laughter
And to come often upon mystic places
Places where the thing has just been.

"The Warning"
by Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)

Just now,
Out of the strange
Still dusk... as strange, as still...
A white moth flew... Why am I grown
So cold?



( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
Silent Hill by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Anne says she dreams sometimes -- and so do I
About the child we saw go by.
In the late afternoon we saw her pass,
Slowly and without a sound. The deep grass
Bent before her, as where a soft wind goes.
Except we know that no wind ever blows
The dark deep grass on Silent Hill.

My grandma says that back before her day,
There was a fine house there upon the crest
Where now a blackened chimney leans to rest
Against the sky. And now and then nearby,
Like a leaf of ash, a dark bird drifts without a cry.
Nothing else goes there. No boy climbs up to play.
Even the wild deer seem to keep away.
But Anne is not afraid. And sometimes we go near
To listen to the soft hush, deep as fear,
Heavy smoke, that seems to hang there still,
Where only dreams walk now -- on Silent Hill.

Anne says she dreams sometimes -- and so do I --
About the child we saw go by,
On Silent Hill.
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
Wonderful choice!
Oct. 24th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
Perfect! Always an eerie favorite.
Oct. 24th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Not sure if it can properly qualify as "spooky", but Is my team ploughing from Housman's A Shropshire Lad always managed to give me chills. Especially the version set to music by George Butterworth.
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:16 am (UTC)
Oooh! Good one!
Oct. 24th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
The Stolen Child
I will post only one of my favorite’s of many by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

The Stolen Child
by William Butler Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you
can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you
can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,.
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To to waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For to world's more full of weeping than you
can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal-chest.
For be comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
from a world more full of weeping than you.

Oct. 25th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
Re: The Stolen Child
Fantastic. Great choice.
Oct. 24th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
That poem from The Innocents (1961 movie):

What shall I sing to my lord from my window?
What shall I sing, for my lord will not stay?
What shall I sing, for my lord will not listen?
Where shall I go, for my lord is away?
Whom shall I love when the moon is arisen?
Gone is my lord, and the grave is his prison.
What shall I say when my lord comes a-calling?
What shall I say when he knocks on my door?
What shall I say when his feet enter softly,
Leaving the marks of his grave on my floor?
Enter my lord, come from your prison.
Come from your grave, for the moon is arisen!

And from Sara Teasdale:


When I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough,
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.

I guess that one is really more Emo than spooky, but it always leaves me feeling cold and dead.
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
Wonderful! *shivers*
Oct. 24th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
I was about to list a few favourite creepy ballads from Child's collection, and then I realised I would be listing most of them.

I do want to call special attention to Edward and The Twa Sisters, though.
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
Oooh, great choices! Thanks for these.
Oct. 24th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
"The Raven" by Poe is probably my favorite, but everyone knows that one. Well, most spooky/poetry buffs know this one, too, but my second favorite is probably:

La Belle Dame Sans Merci by William Butler Yeats


O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.


O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.


I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.


I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.


I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.


I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.


She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
"I love thee true."


She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept, and sigh’d fill sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.


And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dream'd—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’'d
On the cold hill’s side.


I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—"La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!"


I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.


And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:19 am (UTC)
Terrific choice! Thank you.
Oct. 25th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
That's Keats, not Yeats.
Oct. 25th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)

"When I next glanced at him he was sitting in malignant reflection; but in another instant something seemed to attract his attention, and he first sat up sharply and then turned round, and evidently caught sight of the person that was approaching him and was in fact now very near. Then, indeed, did he show unmistakable signs of terror: catching up his stick, he rushed towards the wood, only just eluding the arm of his pursuer, which was suddenly flung out to intercept him. It was with a revulsion which I cannot easily express that I now saw more or less clearly what this pursuer was like. He was a sturdy figure clad in black, and, as I thought, wearing bands: his head was covered with a whitish bag."

M.R. James, "The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance"

"Rats" would also be an appropos quotation...
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
SO appropriate!!!!
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
So, so amazing. I've put it on my countdown today. Thanks for the heads up! This book must be mine. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
Awesome! :D I love it.
Oct. 25th, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
I'm fond of the ballad 'Tam Lin', which is set at Halloween. I also like the deliciously gothic poem 'The Highwayman', by Alfred Noyes, which I'm sure you'd know. Then there's Christina Rosetti's 'Uphill'.

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

And Charlotte Mew's 'The Changeling'...

Toll no bell for me, dear Father dear Mother,
Waste no sighs;
There are my sisters, there is my little brother
Who plays in the place called Paradise,
Your children all, your children for ever;
But I, so wild,
Your disgrace, with the queer brown face, was never,
Never, I know, but half your child!

In the garden at play, all day, last summer,
Far and away I heard
The sweet "tweet-tweet" of a strange new-comer,
The dearest, clearest call of a bird.
It lived down there in the deep green hollow,
My own old home, and the fairies say
The word of a bird is a thing to follow,
So I was away a night and a day.

One evening, too, by the nursery fire,
We snuggled close and sat roudn so still,
When suddenly as the wind blew higher,
Something scratched on the window-sill,
A pinched brown face peered in--I shivered;
No one listened or seemed to see;
The arms of it waved and the wings of it quivered,
Whoo--I knew it had come for me!
Some are as bad as bad can be!
All night long they danced in the rain,
Round and round in a dripping chain,
Threw their caps at the window-pane,
Tried to make me scream and shout
And fling the bedclothes all about:
I meant to stay in bed that night,
And if only you had left a light
They would never have got me out!

Sometimes I wouldn't speak, you see,
Or answer when you spoke to me,
Because in the long, still dusks of Spring
You can hear the whole world whispering;
The shy green grasses making love,
The feathers grow on the dear grey dove,
The tiny heart of the redstart beat,
The patter of the squirrel's feet,
The pebbles pushing in the silver streams,
The rushes talking in their dreams,
The swish-swish of the bat's black wings,
The wild-wood bluebell's sweet ting-tings,
Humming and hammering at your ear,
Everything there is to hear
In the heart of hidden things.
But not in the midst of the nursery riot,
That's why I wanted to be quiet,
Couldn't do my sums, or sing,
Or settle down to anything.
And when, for that, I was sent upstairs
I did kneel down to say my prayers;
But the King who sits on your high church steeple
Has nothing to do with us fairy people!

'Times I pleased you, dear Father, dear Mother,
Learned all my lessons and liked to play,
And dearly I loved the little pale brother
Whom some other bird must have called away.
Why did they bring me here to make me
Not quite bad and not quite good,
Why, unless They're wicked, do They want, in spite,
to take me
Back to Their wet, wild wood?
Now, every nithing I shall see the windows shining,
The gold lamp's glow, and the fire's red gleam,
While the best of us are twining twigs and the rest of us
are whining
In the hollow by the stream.
Black and chill are Their nights on the wold;
And They live so long and They feel no pain:
I shall grow up, but never grow old,
I shall always, always be very cold,
I shall never come back again!

Oct. 25th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
Great choices! "Uphill" is perfect. Thank you!
Oct. 25th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
By Heinrich Heine
Off the top of my head. I find this poem especially creepy in conjunction with Schubert's music...

Untitled, by Heinrich Heine

The night is quiet, the streets are calm,
In this house my beloved once lived:
She has long since left the town,
But the house still stands, here in the same place.

A man stands there also and looks to the sky,
And wrings his hands overwhelmed by pain:
Upon seeing his face, I am terrified--
The moon shows me my own form!

O you Doppelgänger! you pale comrade!
Why do you ape the pain of my love
Which tormented me upon this spot
So many a night, so long ago?
Oct. 27th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
Re: By Heinrich Heine
Oh, wonderful! Thank you for this.
Oct. 25th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
"Sweet William's Ghost" by Thomas Percy.

Sweet William's Ghost

There came a ghost to Margaret's door,
With many a grievous grone,
And ay he tirled at the pin;
But answer made she none.

Is this my father Philip?
Or is't my brother John?
Or is't my true love Willie,
From Scotland new come home?

'Tis not thy father Philip;
Nor yet thy brother John:
But 'tis thy true love Willie,
From Scotland new come home.

O sweet Margret! O dear Margret!
I pray thee speak to mee:
Give me my faith and troth, Margret,
As I gave it to thee.

Thy faith and troth thou'se nevir get,
'Of me shalt nevir win,'
Till that thou come within my bower,
And kiss my cheek and chin.

If I should come within thy bower,
I am no earthly man:
And should I kiss thy rosy lipp,
Thy days will not be lang.

O sweet Margret, O dear Margret,
I pray thee speak to mee:
Give me my faith and troth, Margret,
As I gave it to thee.

Thy faith and troth thou'se nevir get,
'Of me shalt nevir win,'
Till thou take me to yon kirk yard,
And wed me with a ring.

My bones are buried in a kirk yard
Afar beyond the sea,
And it is but my sprite, Margret,
That's speaking now to thee.

She stretched out her lilly-white hand,
As for to do her best:
Hae there your faith and troth, Willie,
God send your soul good rest.

Now she has kilted her robes of green,
A piece below her knee:
And a' the live-lang winter night
The dead corps followed shee.

Is there any room at your head, Willie?
Or any room at your feet?
Or any room at your side, Willie,
Wherein that I may creep?

There's nae room at my head, Margret,
There's nae room at my feet,
There's no room at my side, Margret,
My coffin is made so meet.

Then up and crew the red red cock,
And up then crew the gray:
'Tis time, 'tis time, my dear Margret,
That you were gane away.

No more the ghost to Margret said,
But, with a grievous grone,
Evanish'd in a cloud of mist,
And left her all alone.

O stay, my only true love, stay,
The constant Margret cried:
Wan grew her cheeks, she clos'd her een,
Stretch'd her saft limbs, and died.

Oct. 27th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC)
This is beautiful and so very perfect for the season.
Oct. 26th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
Late to the party, but hey...
"Eyes of a Wolf" by Vasko Popa, translated by Charles Simic

Before they christened me
They gave me in the interim
The name of a brother suckled by a shewolf

As long as she lives my grandmother
Will call me Little Wolf
In her linen-like Walachian tongue

On the sly she would feed me
Raw meat so I would grow up
To lead the pack some day

I believed
My eyes would start to glow
In the dark

My eyes don't glow
Perhaps because the real night
Hasn't yet begun to fall
Oct. 27th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC)
Re: Late to the party, but hey...
Oooh! That's perfect! *shivers*
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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