All Hallow Seven

 

 

666 Skull deep orange  halloween-skull-om1
cross skull DEEPER orange  halloween-skull-alph-omega1

October 31st is a night to celebrate – to celebrate Absolute Truth.
It is a night to grasp the sinister magnitude of the predicament fallen humanity is in.
It is also a night to recall one’s childhood with truly sepulchral melancholy and nostalgia.

I have noted, in my years of this earthly pilgrimage, the degeneration of Halloween from what it was in childhood. I recall less commercial pressure to consume. There was more child-friendly fantasy when I was growing up. The culture had not yet begun to harden into a crassly consumerist rigor mortis yet – or maybe I didn’t notice that part of it so much. Am I  just idealizing a vanished past? Possibly, yes… but the push to turn Halloween into a cannibalistic slasher-film is a real phenomenon and also a discernible symptom.

I am disgusted with the spectacle of Halloween in the USA. But I hold a grudging respect for what looks like a passing victory for death and the grave every year on the last gasp of October. Which brings me to Reformation Day:

In honor of St. Martin Luther, St. John Calvin and  St. John Knox, I proclaim the ongoing triumph of the Reformation. October 31, Reformation Day, is a national day of celebration in Germany, Slovenia, Chile, and Scandinavia – and it should be here as well.

The wages of sin is death (the bitter) but the gift of God is eternal life (the sweet).


The night is still, and the frost it bites my face
I wear my silence like a mask and murmur like a ghost

Trick or Treat – Trick or Treat: the bitter and the sweet

The carefree days are distant now / I wear my memories like a shroud
I try to speak but words collapse, echoing, echoing….

Trick or Treat – Trick or Treat: the bitter and the sweet

I wander though your sadness
Gazing at you with scorpion eyes: Halloween, Halloween…

A sweet reminder in the ice-blue nursery
Of a childish murder / of hidden luster – and she cries:

Trick or Treat – Trick or Treat: the bitter and the sweet

I wander through your sadness
Gazing at you with scorpion eyes: Halloween, Halloween…

Hallows Eve Pumpkin

 

Down for the Count

Here’s one to get you IN THE MOOD.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus (1979)

White on white translucent black capes
Back on the rack
Bela Lugosi’s dead.

The bats have left the bell tower / The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box
/ Bela Lugosi’s dead…

Bela Lugosi’s dead  –
Undead, undead, undead…

The virginal brides file past his tomb
Strewn with time’s dead flowers
Bereft in deathly bloom / Alone in a darkened room
: The Count

Bela Lugosi’s deadBela Lugosi’s dead... Bela Lugosi’s dead
(
Undead, undead, undead…)

Belas batsYes – this is lowbrow poetry…
It seems silly 30 years later. But I like the  Reggae-Dub rimshots
and the freaky-spooky vibe. Sort of a funereal Bossa-Nova going on…
(I had this poster of Bela Lugosi on my bedroom wall as a kid.)

BEYOND UNDEAD HERE

The Unhallowed and the Lost

And now, dearly departed connectees, as autumnal shades deepen and hallowed memories of the haunted past surge and rise from the depths of smiling despair, I cast before you pearls of eternal wisdom to set in your swiftly-corroding crowns of ephemeral earthly joy as you prepare body and soul for All Hallows Even.

Here are passages from Scenes From Beyond the Grave
first published in 1865 by Marietta Davis.

Chapter 12

the Abode of the Lost

    Suddenly a sable veil of nether night appeared to ascend, pervading, and encompassing my being. My inner doubt seemed wrought into a cloud that shut out the upper glory, and the spirit of denial plunged me into the vortex of a deeper gloom. I fell as one precipitated from some dizzy height. The embodiment of darkness opened to receive me. The moving shadow of a more desolate abyss arose like clouds in dense masses of tempestuous gloom; and as I descended, the ever-accumulating weight of darkness pressed more fearfully upon me. At length a nether plain that seemed boundless was imaged upon my sight, which, at a little distance, appeared to be covered with the sparkling semblance of vegetation. Luminous appearances, like waving trees, with resplendent foliage, and flowers and fruits of crystal and of gold, were visible in every direction.

Spirits of the Lost

    Multitudes of spirits appeared beneath the umbrage, and luminous mantles were folded about rapidly moving form. Some wore crowns upon their heads; others tiaras; and others decorations of which I knew not the name, but which appeared to be wrought of clusters of jewels, wreaths of golden coin, and cloth of gold and silver tissue. Others, wore towering helmets; and others circlets filled with glistening and waving plumes. A pale phosphorescence was emitted by every object, and all appeared a splendid masquerade. The apparel worn by these busy myriads corresponded with the ornaments of the head; hence every variety of sumptuous apparel was displayed upon their forms. Kings and queens appeared arrayed in the gorgeous robes of coronation. Groups of nobility of both sexes, also decorated with all the varieties of adornment displayed in the pageantry of kingly courts. Dense multitudes were visible in costume, proper to the highly cultivated nations; and as they passed by, I discovered similar groups composed of less civilized tribes, attired in barbaric ornaments of every form. While some appeared clothed in the habiliments of the present day, others were in ancient attire; but every class of spirits manifested, in the midst of variety of mode, a uniformity of external pride, pomp, and rapidly moving and dazzling luster.

BEYOND BEYOND the GRAVE

 

All Hallows Draws Near

Although it depicts June, The Sleeper remains a quintessential Halloween poem for me; a beautiful proto-Symbolist work that must have inspired Baudelaire and many others. But as a counterbalance to Poe’s sepulchral solemnity, I  include lines by another American poet, James Russel Lowell, making fun of his versification:

“There comes Poe, with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge,
Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge,
Who talks like a book of iambs and pentameters,
In a way to make people of common-sense damn meters,
Who has written some things quite the best of their kind,
But the heart somehow seems all squeezed out by the mind…”
[A Fable For Critics, Part VI:  Poe and Longfellow]


The Sleeper

  Edgar Allan Poe  (1809-1849)

At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
‘Neath which thy slumb’ring soul lies hid,
That, o’er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O’er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o’er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-

Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne’er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

BEYOND the GRAVE HERE

IMAGE CREDITS: photo.net
paris-in-photos.com