I think almost everyone with a passion with fantasy and horror related stuff is now looking forward to Halloween. I love Halloween and everything related to this day, so from now on I’ve planned a lot of articles Halloween related I want to share with you and talk about. Expect to read about Halloween traditions around the world, horror movie reviews and recommendations for this period, my favorite Halloween and dark related books, as well as decorations and recipes for a perfect Halloween night alone or with friends.
I’ll began by writing about something that is not so usual to analyze, but in my opinion it’s a very interesting field: the correlation between Halloween and poetry.
There are so many amazing dark writers and so many beautiful works that I just had to pick one of my favorites. Every week I’ll write a different dark poem that in my opinion is a perfect reading for this period. Feel free to tell me about your favorite poem (and writer) in the comment section.
The first author I want to talk to you about is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), one of the most known New England poets. He was politically very active and a public supporter of abolitionism of slavery, as well as a professor and translator (he was the first man who translated the Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri in American). He wrote several poems, but one of his most beautiful ones is “Haunted Houses”. Here it is.
“All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floor.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts,
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vaporous dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night;
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.”
How beautiful is this poem? He talks about ghosts, but he also talks about the correlation between life and death and he wonders on man’s life on the earth, and how he feels on being alive.
What’s your interpretation of the poem?