Alexander Averin

Friday, 28 October 2011

Samhain approaches

Friday already, this week is really flying as I will be in a few days when I have prepared my besom.

Today, after a slight frost overnight the sun is shining and the magical low lying mist has lifted.  I am taking gentle little walks with the dogs every day to fill my lungs with our pure Welsh air.  It is such a beautiful day and very well-deserved as yesterday was not just wet but was a dull, dull, dull dark and dreary grey all day.

Isn't it funny how sunshine lifts everyone's spirits so? It must be a light thing, perhaps we truly are drawn to the light.

I am reminded that Halloween is approaching; my grandchildren are getting excited and have been busy carving huge orange pumpkins. I am still not yet inspired to write myself but I am following dear Exmoor Jane's advice to just be and to watch the raindrops on the windows, we get plenty of those. Anyways I have found a poem for you, a contemporary one written in 2001 by a poet unknown to me. The Internet is wonderful in the way it introduces me to poets and poems I might otherwise miss. This poem is not a very happy one so does not fit the mood of the day and for that I apologise.

Dispatch from the Home Front:

Halloween 2001

like every other year I sit outside with a guitar

while kids roam in small packs

from lit door to lit door

the costumes tonight are not that frightening

angels and fairies and superheroes abound

a few bloodsuckers and ghouls

a sprinkling of skeletons

no terrorists

the adults pretend to be scared

jessie (the giraffe from across the street)

solemnly hands me M & Ms from her stash

when I put the Snickers in her pumpkin

“honey,” I tell her

“it’s not a trade – it‘s a gift”

and she solemnly takes them back

the young girl in the bathrobe and curlers

wearing the sign that says


says to me

“I want to hear you play your prettyful music”


I hand her candy

and I pick up my guitar

to play a song appropriate to the season

(a song by the Grateful Dead)

for this world’s recent ghosts

this world

where unimaginable ashes

sift down on children’s beds

in one part of this world

the very rocks and baseballs

smell of abrasives, jet fuel, burning rubber, corpses

in another part of this world

they are making the mail glow white

long enough to kill what lives on the words

in another part of this world

this guitar would be


in that country a shrouded woman

has been carefully picking food from a minefield

(food that was air dropped in my name)

she runs and lifts her child from the ground

raising his head high up onto her shoulder

vainly trying to keep the frightening blood from spilling too much

it will take her years to fall asleep again

when she does fall asleep

she will dream of picking up a yellow bomblet

wrapping it in swaddling clothes

suckling it until it blooms hot and bright

but she will not cry

as she holds him in that dream

we all dream that dream these days

we all hold our children closer

while holding back tears

a dream like that

is not a gift

it is a trade

we have all already given

more than enough in return for this one

and you do not let go of your tears

when tears are all you have left

Halloween night

I am pushing aside the veil between the worlds

a mourning person waiting for dawn

pretending to be scared to cover real fear

while I give sweets and prettyful music

to my neighbors’children

we are all a long way from home

if I knew the way

I would take you home

Tony Brown

Tony Brown is a poet, publisher & host of the long-running Poets Asylum reading series at the Java Hut in Worcester, Massachusetts. You can find more of his work online at the Open Mike Poetry site.

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