It was the night after Halloween and I imagined that all the ghosts, spirits and ghouls would be safely back where they belong.
The moon shone clear and bright and there were no bats or beasties to be seen. So why had I just spotted the face of a skeleton peering through my window?
I dismissed the accompanying chill, thinking it must be one of the neighbour’s children, unwilling to bin their costume and smiled at the thought.
Later that evening there was a knock on the door. I decided to ignore it, thinking the child was pushing his luck.
When they knocked again, I felt a pang of guilt, wondering if there really was a small child standing on my doorstep in the middle of the night. I peeked through the curtains but saw nothing but the tendrils of mist gently swirling through the streets.
The next morning, I opened the front door on my way to work to find a strange pumpkin on the step. As I stooped to pick it up, I saw the blood still dripping from the corners of the curved mouth…
Tale of Two Pumpkins
Momma told me one day I would be a pumpkin head
Turning to the pumpkin growing beside me, I asked
Do you know what that means, did your momma tell you?
Sorry, he said, ‘I have no idea
I did hear a whisper along our row
That when we get sold in the shops
People out there when they buy one of us
They cut your head off, scoop out your insides
Cut strange faces on your body
Odd, shaped eyes, nose. Mouth with crooked teeth
Then there is the day they light a candle inside
Warms up our innards, fills the room with our scent
Farmer Tom does it, gives out sweets to the kids
His wife, they say, is trying to learn French
You can hear her when she’s working in the fields
I like it there; they keep the place nice
Mind you, the last whisper I heard about one of their holy days
All Hallows Eve, they call it, when the dead come back for an hour
Can you imagine that?
What if one of them tapped the missus on the shoulder?
She would jump so high she wouldn’t come down till next week
Are you sure you heard right, dead people walking?
Mind you, we’ll be long gone by then
Into the shops for us, we are almost ready
He’ll load us on to his truck
The missus will do a shop in town while he unloads
Then they’ll have tea before going home.
So that’s the end of our story?
It’s doubtful we will be picked by the same customer
So, Bon Voyage my friend
Somebody will cut us up, one way or another
With any luck, they might plant a seed or two
A part of you can come back
New field, new you. There’s no avoiding fate…
I heard a voice calling out my name from inside the house, and when I opened the door…
No one there, the room empty, the furniture gone.
The voice called again, ‘Margaret, you don’t live here anymore, you must go home.’
I don’t understand, I was born in the house. I will die in it.
‘That’s the problem, Margaret, you already have… You are haunting an old space that belongs to new tenants. Soon, the empty rooms will be filled with new life. Please come home, Margaret, your loving husband is the voice you hear. I am waiting when you are ready…’
While you sleep
I walk through shadows, shaped like clouds
I feel the substance inside. My skin cools
I hear the whispers drag at my mind
We live in the air, water, fire. The very earth you live on
I am often there when you sleep
When you wake at night,
you see shadows in the darkness of your room
You wander, you shuffle through old photos trying to press
Their image in mind
We don’t want you to grieve, to hope that for one hour a year
You might see us again. That’s not how it works
Life is for the living, the dead can be remembered
Often, they invoke the help you were looking for
during daylight hours. Here, you may see
a flicker of colour from the corner of your eye
That too may be someone you remember
It’s best to leave the dead to their own business
Crossover contact doesn’t always go well
In extreme cases, it can cause death
That’s the clever way to bring new souls over
When it goes wrong, many are left paralysed
Their minds taken. An empty husk left behind
For some souls it’s anger against the living
Jealousy, a desire to be where you are
For the others it’s a need to see their loved ones
To be near them for a while
They cannot stop themselves from visiting
When they should know better
They are draining the life from the very ones they love
When you feel a loved one near
Wish them well. No more is needed
They in turn will leave a blessing when they can…
On hallowed ground we walk Evil forces old life back from hell One hour on hallowed ground They seek old, favoured places Where love still remains, forever warm Ancient fears keep too many doors closed An hour passed; warm fires call them back to hell…
Colleen has asked the experts to put a poetry writing spell on you! This is her 200th Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge! Happy Poetry Writing!
This month’s theme is:
Dark Towers Lightning strikes Feathers flying While chasing angels with frozen, trembling hands Thunder rolling through black clouds Dark rivers run past ancient walls Wizards broken wand about to fall The illusion of power built on lies…