Let me preface this by saying one thing: I don't not want to see pictures of your Halloween costume on Facebook. I totally do. I know you probably took a lot of time to come up with the perfect creative outfit to rock with your best friend. And even if you didn't take a lot of time and the whole thing was actually pretty last-minute, I know the costume is going to be great. If your 2017 costume is on the DIY side, I'm sure the photos will be especially impressive. I really do want to see your costume. That being said, I'm just wondering if we can all commit to getting a bit more creative with our social sharing this Halloween. Like, what about checking out som Halloween poems to share on Facebook in celebration of the holiday?
This is a pretty awesome holiday we're talking about here, steeped in history and creepy folklore. There's tons of seasonal content out there, as ripe for sharing as a pumpkin on Oct. 29, and it will be the perfect compliment to the forthcoming barrage of costume photos that I fully expect to see on Nov. 1. Plus, celebrating Halloween by sharing this kind of content means that you can participate in the Facebook holiday fun even if you're not so into dressing up.
Check out these Halloween poems, all of which would be perfect for your Facebook feed this month.
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All Souls' Night
"You heap the logs and try to fill
The little room with words and cheer,
But silent feet are on the hill,
Across the window veiled eyes peer.
The hosts of lovers, young in death,
Go seeking down the world to-night,
Remembering faces, warmth and breath—
And they shall seek till it is light.
Then let the white-flaked logs burn low,
Lest those who drift before the storm
See gladness on our hearth and know
There is no flame can make them warm."
This poem does a pretty flawless job of establishing just the kind of eerie, lonely Halloween mood that kept me up at night as a kid for the whole month of October.
Spirits Of The Dead
"Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!"
No one does scary quite like Edgar Allan Poe, and this creepy poem is no exception. "The spirits of the dead, who stood in life before thee, are again..." Feel those shivers up your spine?
"Fern seed, hemp seed, water of the well,
Bark of wizard hazel-wand, berry of the bay,
Let the fairy gifts of you mingle with the spell,
Guard the precious life and soul of him that’s far away!
Oak slip, thorn slip, crystal of the dew,
Morsel of his native earth, shoot of mountain pine,
Lend his arm the strength of you, let his eye be true,
Send him like the thunderbolt to break the foeman’s line!
Rose leaf, elm leaf, kernel of the wheat,
Airy waft of thistledown, feather of the wren,
Bring him peace and happiness, let his dream be sweet,
Take my secret thought to him and call him home again!"
More recipe than poem — though I'm not sure bark of wizard hazel-wand or thorn slip sound like particularly delicious ingredients to anyone — "Halloween Charm" makes it easy to imagine what it might look like to watch someone brought back from the dead.
"In night when colors all to black are cast,
Distinction lost, or gone down with the light;
The eye a watch to inward senses placed,
Not seeing, yet still having powers of sight,
Gives vain alarums to the inward sense,
Where fear stirred up with witty tyranny,
Confounds all powers, and thorough self-offense,
Doth forge and raise impossibility:
Such as in thick depriving darknesses,
Proper reflections of the error be,
And images of self-confusednesses,
Which hurt imaginations only see;
And from this nothing seen, tells news of devils,
Which but expressions be of inward evils."
Even in the dark when dangers are hard to see, you still know they're there. Call it your intuition, your witch vibe, or something else — but you've got it!
All Hallow's Night
"Two things I did on Hallows Night:—
Made my house April-clear;
Left open wide my door
To the ghosts of the year.
Then one came in. Across the room
It stood up long and fair—
The ghost that was myself—
And gave me stare for stare."
Sometimes, the scariest things of all are directly in front of us — or, worse, already within us. (Thanks for the reminder, poem!)
"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:
just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.
She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once
as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly."
Black cats are pretty much the OGs of superstitions, but this poem gives a totally new dimension to them. If spotting a black cat late at night didn't freak you out before, it probably will now. Sorry!
Theme In Yellow
"I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know I am fooling."
Jack-O'-Lanterns represent the kinder, softer side of Halloween — at least, I thought they did, until I read this poem and learned of the evil lurking inside them.
"Gloomy and bare the organ-loft,
Bent-backed and blind the organist.
From rafters looming shadowy,
From the pipes’ tuneful company,
Drifted together drowsily,
Innumerable, formless, dim,
The ghosts of long-dead melodies,
Of anthems, stately, thunderous,
Of Kyries shrill and tremulous:
In melancholy drowsy-sweet
They huddled there in harmony.
Like bats at noontide rafter-hung."
If you've ever wondered what a chorus of ghosts sounds like, your Facebook pals probably have too. Robert Graves tries to explain it to all of us here.
Ghosts And Fashion
"Although it no longer has a body
to cover out of a sense of decorum,
the ghost must still consider fashion—
must clothe its invisibility in something
if it is to “appear” in public.
Some traditional specters favor
the simple shroud—
a toga of ectoplasm
swirling around them.
While others opt for lightweight versions
of once familiar tee shirts and jeans.
Perhaps being thought-forms,
they can change their outfits instantly—
or if they were loved ones,
it is we who clothe them
like dolls from memory."
A sillier take on Halloween poetry, "Ghosts and Fashion" has me sitting here imagining what my entire wardrobe would look like on a Casper lookalike.
"All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss."
If we're to believe Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's theory of haunted houses, it's time to stop wondering whether or not your home is occupied by spirits of a previous life — because all homes are.
"A fair witch crept to a young man’s side,
And he kiss’d her and took her for his bride.
But a Shape came in at the dead of night,
And fill’d the room with snowy light.
And he saw how in his arms there lay
A thing more frightful than mouth may say.
And he rose in haste, and follow’d the Shape
Till morning crown’d an eastern cape.
And he girded himself, and follow’d still
When sunset sainted the western hill.
But, mocking and thwarting, clung to his side,
Weary day!—the foul Witch-Bride."
The only thing worse than a bridezilla? A witch-bride.
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I (Round About The Cauldron Go)
"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."
I know you remember this one from high school English class. Give your social network a Shakespeare refresher with a few lines out of this classic scene from Macbeth.