Category Archives: Halloween
Some of the best poems of all time are dark, eerie, haunting, scary poems―the perfect poems for Halloween! Here you will find the great medieval ballad about madness, “Tom O’Bedlam,” Alfred Noyes’s bleakly romantic ghost story “The Highwayman,” Ernest Dowson’s haunting “A Last Word,” Walter De La Mare’s enigmatic “The Listeners,” and a terrifying poem about the specter of hell terrorizing Christian children, Robert Frost’s magnificent “Directive.” I chose the first two poems to complement the ghoulish picture above. (In fact, I wrote the first poem specifically to go with the picture.) The poems that follow include some of the very best dark, haunting poems in the English language, by masters of horror and the supernatural like William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, John Keats and Edward Arlington Robinson.
by Michael R. Burch
Tell us what you lack …
the ability to love,
your flesh so slack?
Will we frighten you,
equally pale & unsound …
when we also haunt
the unhallowed ground?
The Skeleton’s Defense of Carnality
by Jack Foley
Truly I have lost weight, I have lost weight,
grown lean in love’s defense,
in love’s defense grown grave.
It was concupiscence that brought me to the state:
all bone and a bit of skin
to keep the bone within.
Flesh is no heavy burden for one possessed of little
and accustomed to its loss.
I lean to love, which leaves me lean, till lean turn into lack.
A wanton bone, I sing my song
and travel where the bone is blown
and extricate true love from lust
as any man of wisdom must.
Then wherefore should I rage
against this pilgrimage
from gravel unto gravel?
Circuitous I travel
from love to lack / and lack to lack,
from lean to lack
A Last Word
by Ernest Dowson
Let us go hence: the night is now at hand;
The day is overworn, the birds all flown;
And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown;
Despair and death; deep darkness o’er the land,
Broods like an owl; we cannot understand
Laughter or tears, for we have only known
Surpassing vanity: vain things alone
Have driven our perverse and aimless band.
Let us go hence, somewhither strange and cold,
To Hollow Lands where just men and unjust
Find end of labour, where’s rest for the old,
Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.
Twine our torn hands! O pray the earth enfold
Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.
Ulalume [an excerpt]
by Edgar Allan Poe
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir—
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir …
by Michael R. Burch
White in the shadows
I see your face,
unbidden. Go, tell
Love it is commonplace;
tell Regret it is not so rare.
Our love is not here
though you smile,
full of sedulous grace.
Lost in darkness, I fear
the past is our resting place.
by Edward Arlington Robinson
Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal,
There where the vines cling crimson on the wall,
And in the twilight wait for what will come.
The leaves will whisper there of her, and some,
Like flying words, will strike you as they fall;
But go, and if you listen, she will call.
Go to the western gate, Luke Havergal—
No, there is not a dawn in eastern skies
To rift the fiery night that’s in your eyes;
But there, where western glooms are gathering
The dark will end the dark, if anything:
God slays Himself with every leaf that flies,
And hell is more than half of paradise.
No, there is not a dawn in eastern skies—
In eastern skies.
Out of a grave I come to tell you this,
Out of a grave I come to quench the kiss
That flames upon your forehead with a glow
That blinds you to the way that you must go.
Yes, there is yet one way to where she is,
Bitter, but one that faith may never miss.
Out of a grave I come to tell you this—
To tell you this.
There is the western gate, Luke Havergal,
There are the crimson leaves upon the wall,
Go, for the winds are tearing them away,—
Nor think to riddle the dead words they say,
Nor any more to feel them as they fall;
But go, and if you trust her she will call.
There is the western gate, Luke Havergal—
by Agnes Wathall
No ancient mariner I,
Hawker of public crosses,
Snaring the passersby
With my necklace of albatrosses.
I blink no glittering eye
Between tufts of gray sea mosses
Nor in the high road ply
My trade of guilts and glosses.
But a dark and inward sky
Tracks the flotsam of my losses.
No more becalmed to lie,
The skeleton ship tosses.
by Walter De La Mare
‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I
by William Shakespeare
Three witches, casting a spell …
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
YOUR FAVOURITE POEM WHAT’S YOUR’S
WHY NOT SEND YOUR POETRY IN AND CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN
Gathering around the witches cauldron
The ugliest group ever seen
Mary uttering nasty vile spells
Then she let out a blood-curdling scream
The leader of the nasty coven
Was the witch named Scary Mary?
Her face was full of warts
With a moustache and beard all hairy
They danced around the cauldron
Throwing toads and spiders into the brew
Mary was supposed to be experienced
But alas she had not a clue
Her cat Boris was watching
With a smile across his face
To see the witches leaving
At a fast and furious pace
One thing they had forgotten
As they were flying around the floor
They were so high on the brew
They forgot to open the door
Boris by now was in pieces
As they all crashed together in a heap
He was rolling around laughing
As the witches struggled to their feet
Scary Mary was now quite vexed
As she tried to kick start her broom
Boris now was crossing his legs
And was quickly leaving the room
Scary Mary by now was quite dizzy
As she staggered she bumped her head
The last time Boris saw her
She was casting spells in her bed
Mr. Macklin takes his knife And carves the yellow pumpkin face: Three holes bring eyes and nose to life, The mouth has thirteen teeth in place. Then Mr. Macklin just for fun Transfers the corn-cob pipe from his Wry mouth to Jack’s, and everyone Dies laughing! O what fun it is Till Mr. Macklin draws the shade And lights the candle in Jack’s skull. Then all the inside dark is made As spooky and as horrorful As Halloween, and creepy crawl The shadows on the tool-house floor, With Jack’s face dancing on the wall. O Mr. Macklin! where’s the door? David McCord YOUR FAVOURITE POEM SENT IN BY YOU WHAT'S YOUR'S
A pumpkin knocked at my door
I was shocked, I fell to the floor
The pumpkin had a toothless grin
In the end I asked him to come in
The pumpkin shook my hand
And said I knew you’d understand
I wanted to come to your party
I was all alone
With witches and ghosts
They frightened me
It’s you I’d rather see
Someone warm and bright
On this Halloween night
So what have we got for tea
Trick or treat
It will be a whisky for me
Gillian and Thomas Sims
(In honor of All Hallows’ Eve and those spirits who are still with us)
Let the fun begin
Put your costume on
Then come on in
No tricks here
Only treats galore
Have A little candy
Then a little bit more
Eat all you want
There’s plenty around
No one will stop you
No one will make a sound
Soon you’ll be ready
And you’ll be the treat
After all even goblins
Down in the depth of the scary forest
A witch was preparing her brew
This was the first time she’d made it
As she did not know quite what to do
She put in everything she could think of
From a bats wing to a toad that was pink
She stirred it up with her witch’s broom
And for good luck threw in the kitchen sink
She took a sip from her witch’s brew
Then decided to fly on her broom
But alas things didn’t go to plan
Became dizzy as she flew round the room
Then out of the window and into the woods
Swerving in and out of the trees
By now her vision was erratic
As she was seeing in two’s and three’s
Totally losing control of her broom
She hadn’t a clue what to do
Holding on for dear life
Wishing she hadn’t sipped her powerful brew
Her faithful cat called Boris was with her
She turned and asked Boris “What shall I do”
Boris by now was quite frightened
To be honest he hadn’t got a clue
The witch continued her frightening ride
Murmuring spells under her breath
Boris was saying a prayer
As they both journeyed on to the west
The witch decided to take drastic action
As she jump off her broom in mid air
By now Boris had lost the will to live
As he was hanging on to the witches hair
As they plummeted towards the ground
One last spell the witch did cast
To wish everyone a Happy Halloween
Then they both landed safely at last
Malcolm G Bradshaw
The Hag is astride,
This night for to ride;
The Devill and shee together:
Through thick, and through thin,
Now out, and then in,
Thorn or a Burr
She takes for a Spurre:
With a lash of a Bramble she rides now,
Through Brakes and through Bryars,
O’re Ditches, and Mires,
She followes the Spirit that guides now.
No Beast, for his food,
Dares now range the wood;
But husht in his laire he lies lurking:
While mischiefs, by these,
On Land and on Seas,
At noone of Night are working,
The storme will arise,
And trouble the skies;
This night, and more for the wonder,
The ghost from the Tomb
Affrighted shall come,
A Cal’d out by the clap of the Thunder.Though ne’r so foule be the weather.
Robert Herrick (1648)
YOUR FAVOURITE POEM SENT IN BY YOU WHAT’S YOURS