Halloween is upon us, which means it's time to pull out our favorite tricks and treats and terrifying reads. Along with jack-o-lanterns and fun-sized candy, Halloween just wouldn't be complete without reading a scary horror poem or two. After all, is anyone more tuned in to the dark secrets of the universe than poets?
On Halloween, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead becomes blurred. As the veil is lifted, our world becomes one with supernatural realm. It's a time in which the spirit world comes out to play, haunting us and taunting us in the most of wicked of ways. Which obviously makes for some fantastic poetry.
Do you hear that creak of the floorboards? Do you feel that chill in the air? Do you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is just...not right? Maybe there's something out there, watching you. Maybe there's something lurking in the house. Maybe, it's right behind you.
Gather in a circle, turn out the lights, and read these poems aloud with a flashlight tucked under your chin. Or simply light a candle and read them to yourself, if you dare. Each of these pieces can be read in minutes, but they're sure to haunt you for days to come.
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"The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe
"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
''Tis some visitor,' I muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.'"
"Omens" by Cecelia Llompart
We once tended the oracles.
Now we rely on a photograph
a hand we never saw
"The Owner of the Night" by Mark Doty
"interrogates whoever walks
this shadow-lane, this hour
not reserved for you: who
are you to enter it?"
"All Hallows’ Eve" by Dorothea Tanning
"Be perfect, make it otherwise.
Yesterday is torn in shreds.
Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes
Rip apart the breathing beds.
Hear bones crack and pulverize.
Doom creeps in on rubber treads."
"Because I Could Not Stop For Death" by Emily Dickenson
"Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
"All Hallows" by Louise Glück
"Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:"
"Windigo" by Louise Erdrich
"You knew I was coming for you, little one,
when the kettle jumped into the fire.
Towels flapped on the hooks, and the dog crept off, groaning,
to the deepest part of the woods."
"Song of the Witches" from 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare
"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;"
"Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti
"Backwards up the mossy glen
Turn’d and troop’d the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
'Come buy, come buy.'"
"Samhain" by Annie Finch
"Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil"
"Field of Skulls" by Mary Karr
"Stare hard enough at the fabric of night,
and if you're predisposed to dark—let’s say
the window you’ve picked is a black
postage stamp you spend hours at,
sleepless, drinking gin after the I Love
Lucy reruns have gone off—stare"
"Black Cat" by Rainer Maria Rilke
"A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:"
"To Live in The Zombie Apocalypse" by Burlee Vang
"Believe the brain is a cage of light
& rage. When it shuts off,
something else switches on.
There’s no better reason than now
to lock the doors, the windows."