It’s that time of year again when the moon takes on an eerie glow, much brighter above darker autumn evenings. This strange little season starts in the grocery stores, far too early, in September. Although candy sales aren’t the greatest of deals when you down every morsel before the first ding-dong of trick-or-treaters. But, nearer than a roaming spirit, the holiday is upon is. And as much as I dislike gore and horror…I love Halloween!
As a child, I was afraid of the dark. To be honest, I still am. But I believe that might be why I like Halloween. It’s the time of the year I can embrace my darker side. And yes, we all have one. I enjoy discovering what comes out (artistically) when I let myself go.
For today’s Sunday post, so close to the spooky holiday, I am reminiscing on some of my darker poems. So, grab some Halloween treats, throw on a costume, and enjoy! Don’t forget to find my SCARY “writing advice” at the bottom of the page.
My Halloween Treat to you (poems are below):
Love Eternal – I wrote this poem thinking about the wedding vows monsters of the dark might declare to each other in marriage.
Soul Cakes for Prayers – This one was inspired after researching Halloween for the class I teach. It’s not Iambic, but it does have a beat and a little rhyme.
Three excerpts from my poetry book, Colors Collected (Shadows, Black Raven Eats the Sun, and Black of Night) – I wouldn’t have thought these poems dark until last weekend. I was asked to read some of my poetry to begin an October Night of playwrights at the Drunken Owl Theater. Perusing through my book of color-and-life-inspired poems, I realized I had three!
The Almost Utter Darkness – This one I’ve written especially for you, my devoted and glorious readers on Steps in Between. I hope you enjoy…and Happy Halloween!
knotted and bound,
sealed with a kiss and a promise
beyond our death or end,
immortality or tomorrow,
I give myself to you.
Forever and a day,
and yesteryears to come,
a dance to enchant under moon.
Silver lining flickers
in the distance close to heart,
a golden band to wrap us into one.
Roses spread beyond
a blade to pierce the palm,
ritualistic motive meant to bind.
I love you as my own,
I do, I do, I do –
Announcing my forever…in time.
~By Celaine Charles
Soul Cakes for Prayers
A promise to pay, a promise to pay,
door to door for soul cakes today.
Before the cockcrow, before the morn,
the beggars will pray for souls to be mourned.
A promise to pay, a promise to pay,
families prepare on the eve of All Saints.
Soul cakes are baked, the currents adorn,
soul cakes for prayers; hear the knock on the door?
~By Celaine Charles
Three Excerpts from Colors Collected, Poetry Inspired by the Hues of Life
Excerpt from Shadows (complete poem in my book, Colors Collected)
and treasures mislaid.
The unfound wishing
to stay small
in a vast bright world.”
Excerpt from Black Raven Eats the Sun (complete poem in my book, Colors Collected)
tired of the day,
used his beak to crack—
to break the surface
of setting sun.
He took a bite
from ticking time
with no remorse,
ripped and tore its flesh,
Threw his head back,
swallowed every bite,
savored every minute…”
Excerpt from Black of Night (complete poem in my book, Colors Collected)
“And she waits…
a magnet to the small
The gullible ones,
rich and delicious
because they believe
there’s more to the light.
She never grants thought
to superstitious worship.
Respect to the dark
and efficiency within
limitations of twilight…”
~All three excerpts by Celaine Charles
The Almost Utter Darkness
Storm clouds settle at dusk,
whisk away the last rays
of light, stitch themselves
slowly into an eerie disguise.
The city awaits, anticipating
a night of bats and goblins,
swarms of children adorned
with sheets and masks.
They waltz among the dead
in glee, the watchful gaze of
parents stalk behind, within
the almost utter darkness,
as if the last lamppost lit,
was stamped out by Dumbledore
clicking his Put-Outer until
tiny pops fade to black.
Shadowed branches grow
webbed fingers, grab for sweets
and brittle bones beneath
flesh covered, costume delights.
~By Celaine Charles
Writing Advice: BOO!
Find your dark side. It’s perfectly fine to do so in the season of Halloween (or truly any other time). As writers we need to explore ourselves deeply…see what embers might be sparked. I am giving you permission to do so.
I recently toured the campus of the University of Southern California. In doing so, I wandered into their extravagant library and right into a display honoring English novelist, Mary Shelley. I have never enjoyed horror books or films, but the story of Frankenstein is one of my favorite classics. It’s actually a lovely (and sad) read. I do recommend it. Yet, if you research the story behind Frankenstein, you’ll find it was written as a challenge. Mary Shelley had to dig deep to create the scariest story possible, as several of her friends were doing the same.
I am not suggesting you write a scary story, as Mary Shelley accomplished…but rather, test your limits. Write a little something that might seem scary to you.
I remember writing my first kissing scene for Seam Keepers. I was terrified! I am not a romance writer. But every story needs a little love (and whether we admit it or not, we all know it’s true). So, a few summers back while visiting my lake cabin, I drank a couple glasses of wine on the dock, watched the sun set behind the hills, and ultimately giggled my way through the scene. I was laughing on the outside, but truly nervous on the inside. I’d never analyzed a kiss so much in my life. My husband had no idea what I was doing, but his suspicious glances over at me caused even more fear…fear of embarrassment at being found out.
What seems scary to you?
Challenge yourself to write something frightening or unimaginable in your story right now! Why not? It can always be deleted or used as a prompt to warm up to the real writing you’re striving to do. But what if it actually turns out brilliant and finds a home in your present work? What if it inspires something to be developed in your future?
Go ahead and give yourself a little scare – BOO!
Happy Writing (because at least you’re writing), and Happy Halloween!
Celaine Charles, October 27, 2019
Image and Link Credits:
https://www.amazon.com/Colors-Collected-Poetry-Inspired-Hues/dp/1641114460#targetText=Colors%20Collected%20is%20a%20poetry,to%20complete%20this%20picturesque%20book. Colors Collected, by Celaine Charles
Pictures of the Mary Shelley exhibit taken at USC with my iPhone, August 2019
Picture of the dark Seattle night, taken with my iPhone, October 19, 2019
https://www.pinotspalette.com/champions/event/194081 (Autumn Pumpkin Patch)
https://blog.sulky.com/raven-eating-sun-art-quilt/ (Raven Captures the Sun art quilt, by Chris Eichner)
https://pixels.com/featured/-small-cascades-and-branch-shadows-james-burpee.html (Small Cascades and Branch Shadows, by James Burpee)
https://marketplace.zibbet.com/gallerymusings/flying-fox-fruit-bat-painting-4×4-bat-art (Bat art, by Chris Wrinn)
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