Ode to All Hallows

The grim oak and the yew are watchful, here.

The one declines; the other at its height

Of wildest powers at the nearing time of year,

In this dim light.


Uncommon graves are kept for uncommon sleepers

In their dark earth. The bark and bones of trees

Are branches, hands for stalkers and dream-creepers

Ill at ease,


Wrung like a murderer’s. The moon is with us now,

Among us like our sense of something strange,

Silvered with magic: revealing to us how

In death, all change.


Bring in the season of the fallen fruit.

Bite out its heart, and let the heart’s rich dream

Of nightmares take us. Our senses, once astute,

By weird ways deem;


Though cascades of rich leaves in sunlight charm us

We know that by the evening, come what may,

They fade; by night, in thrall of what might harm us,

All leaves fall grey.


So keep your wits as wily and as keen

As best you can, at the candled dark of night.

Because uncertain things are certain seen

In this half-light.



This is another Frankenstein’s Monster sapphic ode, again with an autumnal bent, but specifically in praise of Halloween. In particular I wanted to reinterpret and stitch together various parts of previous Gothic poems, and focus on the notion of perception: how it changes in darkness, in fear, and so on. Its eyes see things a little differently from ours. As usual, I have sewn in a great deal of internal rhyme into my Monster Ode, to give it strength and motion. I’ve given it murderer’s hands and the pace of a stalker. I have attempted to give it Life. Muahahahahaaaaa.


One thought on “Ode to All Hallows

  1. Dear James Just reread this All Hallows poem and will celebrate it by wandering around the garden tonight when it is very dark. I may even take a candle and incant the poem. Vicky is coming this week and we are making a pumkin pie and other delicious dishes.

    Should you and Blair like or would have the time for a winter visit, you would be very welcome. We are keeping the days between Xmas and New Year absolutely free for any ‘young’ who would like to come, but we do know how very variously busy you all are in so many different ways.

    Lots of love, Gran

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