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All Hallow's Eve

The tradition of Halloween originates from a Celtic festival known as “Samhain,” where people would wear costumes and make bonfires to ward off ghosts. During the 18th century, November 1st was declared “All Saints Day.” Both celebrations soon acquired traditions from each other and over time transformed into what we know as Halloween.

Halloween is celebrated throughout the U.S. and although we have forgotten what the holiday is really about, it is still a time for the mysterious forces, the monsters under our bed, the ghosts in our cellars. It’s a night to make us face our fears, to remind us of our mortality. This collection of poems embraces the eerie mood of the celebration, making them the perfect Halloween read.


The Spider and the Ghost of the Fly

By Vachel Lindsay

Once I loved a spider

When I was born a fly,

A velvet-footed spider

With a gown of rainbow-dye.

She ate my wings and gloated.

She bound me with a hair.

She drove me to her parlor

Above her winding stair.

To educate young spiders

She took me all apart.

My ghost came back to haunt her.

I saw her eat my heart.


Song of the Witches

By William Shakespeare

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the caldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog,

Wool of bat and tongue of dog,

Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,

Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.

Cool it with a baboon's blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.


Ghost House

By Robert Frost

I dwell in a lonely house I know

That vanished many a summer ago,

And left no trace but the cellar walls,

And a cellar in which the daylight falls

And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shield

The woods come back to the mowing field;

The orchard tree has grown one copse

Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;

The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart

In that vanished abode there far apart

On that disused and forgotten road

That has no dust-bath now for the toad.

Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout

And hush and cluck and flutter about:

I hear him begin far enough away

Full many a time to say his say

Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.

I know not who these mute folk are

Who share the unlit place with me—

Those stones out under the low-limbed tree

Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad—

Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—

With none among them that ever sings,

And yet, in view of how many things,

As sweet companions as might be had.


The Unreturning

By Wilfred Owen

Suddenly night crushed out the day and hurled

Her remnants over cloud-peaks, thunder-walled.

Then fell a stillness such as harks appalled

When far-gone dead return upon the world.

There watched I for the Dead; but no ghost woke.

Each one whom Life exiled I named and called.

But they were all too far, or dumbed, or thralled;

And never one fared back to me or spoke.

Then peered the indefinite unshapen dawn

With vacant gloaming, sad as half-lit minds,

The weak-limned hour when sick men's sighs are drained.

And while I wondered on their being withdrawn,

Gagged by the smothering wing which none unbinds,

I dreaded even a heaven with doors so chained.

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