Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hallowe'en Candy

Even though I'm a day late, I've decided a poem for Hallowe'en. I guess a few apologetic remarks about the limited nature of "occasional poems" like this one would be in order, but frankly I've always felt that most if not all poems are "occasional" in some way. Most poems (for me, anyway) come from a particular place and time, and so a poem about a holiday isn't necessarily at a disadvantage.

The Humans on Hallowe’en

We light three candles, put a bad face on
our lunkhead pumpkin, scoop out his brains
and pop his eyes right back into his skull
with the clumsy end of our carving skill...

Ready to take the easy way out
before the tricksters expected at eight,
treating them to a handful of what-
ever chocolates they want to grab,

we’re scary good at playing the really
hospitable couple; we spring at the shuffle
of feet on the doorstep, chuckle at greed
and tolerate ingratitude.

In the lull between each demand
for candy, we sit around at loose ends,
emptying pockets of Snickers and change,
watching the street for the lurching return

of goblins, demons, pro wrestling fans...
We’re lonely for ghosts, peering out at the moon,
and our greatest fear is that no one will come
to haunt this undisguised night we call home...

Even a pretty much completely cheapened holiday has a certain emotional power, for those who still try and participate in them (this year we vacated our house for the evening, so we were off the hook), and I guess that's what I was trying to get at here.

I'm wondering how many people out there have favorite "occasional" poems. I vaguely remember T.S. Eliot's Christmas poem for his wife, and a few elegies for dead famous people (Auden's "In Memory of W.B. Yeats" is probably my favorite), but none about Hallowe'en.