During the month of October, some fellow book lovers have been conducting an online fundraiser called BookOrTreat in support of UNICEF. I know, I know, with the approach of the holiday season it seems as if everyone wants your money and the pleas can get to be pretty tedious. I’m not about to tell anyone what to do with their money, but you could do worse than contributing to this effort on behalf of UNICEF. They do good work.
Whether or not you decide to donate to this project, I do hope you’ll consider giving some amount of your time or effort or hard-earned dollars to those who are less fortunate. Their number seems to be growing ever larger.
At least the folks at BookOrTreat are having fun with it, encouraging people to write blog posts with a Halloween theme that are added each week to their “Blog Party.” So I figured, what the heck, I’ll join in and recycle the post from last year. Okay, and from the year before. Hey, I’ve heard traditions can be comforting. Sit back and be comforted:
Halloween is just a few short days away. This is what my sister, Booko, does to pumpkins this time of year:
Yes, she carved each and every one of them. Amazingly talented, is my sister. Here are more:
Being much less adept with a knife, I think of Halloween as the annoyingly predictable day when the neighborhood kids come to ring my doorbell, sending The Wonder Dog into frenzied fits of insanity and the cat into traumatized seclusion, interrupting my solitude with their insincere and unconvincing cries of “trick or treat!”
Of course, there are the practical souls who stand there silently, petulant, stubbornly holding out their buckets and pillowcases, recipients of a largesse earned by mere entitlement rather than effort or threat of force, their young faces costumed in ghoulish aspects of expectant greed.
No, this is not my favourite holiday. How could you tell?
Ah, but it is also Samhain, the dark twin of Beltane, sometimes known as All Hallow’s Eve — a night when it is said that the veil between the worlds of the living and of the dead is at its thinnest. Some say it is a night of unimaginable power. A night cloaked in mystery and pagan ritual, shrouded by superstition and fear. A night when the spirits of the dead roam freely among us, causing mischief and harm, unappeased by meager offerings and reined in only by the approach of dawn. Tales are told of incautious souls unwary enough to be lured by curiosity to the other side, and of those unfortunate few who do not make it back before night gives way to light.
As an antidote to the crass commercialism of the modern holiday, and just generally to cheer myself up, I tried to find a poem I could post here that would convey the dark eerie spookiness of the old pagan beliefs — that the threshold between the living and the dead is easily crossed on this night — but couldn’t find any that quite fit the right mood. So I wrote my own. I hope it’s as much fun to read as it was to write. May your Hallow E’en be a night of safe travels, one disturbed only by visitations of benign spirits.
come dance with me
they come in the darkest of night
afoot in the absence of light
the souls who have given the right
to waltz upon their graves
they come now to witness the dance
how fortune has done more than glance
and evil has won the last chance
the footprints on the graves
and oh how they quiver with fear
and how their own lives they hold dear
though fate never has been more clear
’tis written on the graves
the game has already been won
and night will give way to the sun
the lament of words left unsung
the keeper of the graves
they say ’tis sheer madness this night
awash in the absence of light
them link hands this unhallowed night
and dance upon their graves
So, what are your plans this Halloween? Going to venture out into the night?