Hallows Coming – Aiken

Following we must to Hallows night, eyes see clouds dark, birds, Moon red, not right.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

S - Nemo font_halloweenhe rose among us where we lay.
She wept, we put our work away.
She chilled our laughter, stilled our play;
And spread a silence there.
And darkness shot across the sky,
And once, and twice, we heard her cry;
And saw her lift white hands on high
And toss her troubled hair.

What shape was this who came to us,
With basilisk eyes so ominous,
With mouth so sweet, so poisonous,
And tortured hands so pale?
We saw her wavering to and fro,
Through dark and wind we saw her go;
Yet what her name was did not know;
And felt our spirits fail.

blood moon smallWe tried to turn away; but still
Above we heard her sorrow thrill;
And those that slept, they dreamed of ill
And dreadful things:
Of skies grown red with rending flames
And shuddering hills that cracked their frames;
Of twilights foul with wings;

And skeletons dancing to a tune;
And cries of children stifled soon;
And over all a blood-red moon
A dull and nightmare size.
They woke, and sought to go their ways,
Yet everywhere they met her gaze,
Her fixed and burning eyes.

Who are you now, —we cried to her—
Spirit so strange, so sinister?
We felt dead winds above us stir;
And in the darkness heard
A voice fall, singing, cloying sweet,
Heavily dropping, though that heat,
Heavy as honeyed pulses beat,
Slow word by anguished word.

And through the night strange music went
With voice and cry so darkly blent
We could not fathom what they meant;
Save only that they seemed
To thin the blood along our veins,
Foretelling vile, delirious pains,
And clouds divulging blood-red rains
Upon a hill undreamed.

Seeing ploughmanAnd this we heard: “Who dies for me,
He shall possess me secretly,
My terrible beauty he shall see,
And slake my body’s flame.
But who denies me cursed shall be,
And slain, and buried loathsomely,
And slimed upon with shame.”

And darkness fell. And like a sea
Of stumbling deaths we followed, we
Who dared not stay behind.
There all night long beneath a cloud
We rose and fell, we struck and bowed,
We were the ploughman and the ploughed,
Our eyes were red and blind.

And some, they said, had touched her side,
Before she fled us there;
And some had taken her to bride;
And some lain down for her and died;
Who had not touched her hair,
Ran to and fro and cursed and cried
And sought her everywhere.

“Her eyes have feasted on the dead,
And small and shapely is her head,
And dark and small her mouth,” they said,
“And beautiful to kiss;
Her mouth is sinister and red
As blood in moonlight is.”

Then poets forgot their jeweled words
And cut the sky with glittering swords;
And innocent souls turned carrion birds
To perch upon the dead.
Sweet daisy fields were drenched with death,
The air became a charnel breath,
Pale stones were splashed with red.

Green leaves were dappled bright with blood
And fruit trees murdered in the bud;
And when at length the dawn
Came green as twilight from the east,
And all that heaving horror ceased,
Silent was every bird and beast,
And that dark voice was gone.

dark birds blood red cloudsNo word was there, no song, no bell,
No furious tongue that dream to tell;
Only the dead, who rose and fell
Above the wounded men;
And whisperings and wails of pain
Blown slowly from the wounded grain,
Blown slowly from the smoking plain;
And silence fallen again.

Until at dusk, from God knows where,
Beneath dark birds that filled the air,
Like one who did not hear or care,
Under a blood-red cloud,
An aged ploughman came alone
And drove his share through flesh and bone,
And turned them under to mould and stone;
All night long he ploughed.

Conrad Aiken, The Vampire

————

Care to share your own favorites of fall and the season’s Hallows? Share your most spooky stories, special beloved celebrations, how you and/or your family decorate your home—pics will be required! What about meals or snacks prepared and enjoyed, or better still what astonishing events of paranormal activity have you experienced personally or heard from a close, good (dignified) friend! You have until November 1st to remember them and comment throughout this Hallows theme.

Halloween breaker

4-Macbeth Witch quote_skeletons_4

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Hallows Coming – Taboo

Continuing Hallows theme of dark and fright, a jolt in my slumber this one heavy night.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

It was in the middle of the night, about 3:00 AM on a Monday. I had been sleeping very well considering the last five days of severe stress from sudden, painful, unexpected family events. It hadn’t taken long for me to fall asleep. I was utterly drained, mentally and emotionally. Suddenly, something woke me, alarmed! I sat up in my bed fully awake and listening acutely for any noise, any motion, as if someone had broken in. I was sure someone, something jolted me up. But I couldn’t be certain, yet. Was I dreaming? Was it so real it forced me out of my sleep sitting straight up, fully conscious waiting for the burglar to make another noise? In those seconds I could have heard even the tiniest critter moving across the floor or in the kitchen or living room my senses were so sharp. Never in my life had I awakened like that in half a second, completely aware of myself and surroundings!

But I have started at the end of my Hallows story, five days later.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

It is Wednesday evening, July 18, 1990. I had returned to my apartment in Jackson, MS from my workday. It wasn’t any extraordinary day. No one at the psych hospital had a Code Red. No emergency admissions by attempted suicide or court-ordered commitment, just a normal day. I was ready to relax, make dinner, and decompress. Then my phone rang.

On the other end (over 400 miles away) was my Mom bawling, upset that she struggled to say hello and begin telling me why she called. This is the first time in my life I have ever heard my Mom so upset she could barely speak and seemed to be near hyper-ventilation. My nerves, heart-rate, and perspiration rise quickly because I am so not prepared to hear what she is about to tell me. Mom, take a deep breath I tell her, slow down, breathe… however, in my mind I am not so sure I want her to gather herself to explain why she is calling in this manner. A few minutes pass when she calms herself enough to talk.

I am leaving your Dad. I am moving out. I lose my breath now. This is a blindsided blow to me. Not once in my childhood, adolescent, or teen years did I ever see or hear things so bad between them that Mom would apparently be forced out or have the need to move out, away from my Dad. Sure they had their differences like all married couples by their 28th year of marriage. Yes, they had their heated arguments, but those were so few and far between, at least as much as my sister and I could perceive. There were a handful of times they’d disappear behind locked door or private moments we had to remain detached from and unaware. But THIS was nothing like any of those.

Mom shared a little more what she felt was appropriate, that she was only moving out for a separation, not divorce. But then she described Dad’s mental and emotional state to me. I am very worried about your Dad she said while choking and clearing her throat. I still couldn’t find a response. He is not doing well. He only eats a small bowl of oatmeal in the morning. she begins to cry again, When he gets home from work, only his childhood favorite… peanut butter and butter on a slice of bread. I know this about Dad because during the Second World War, he, Granny, and Grandpa had to ration what little food was available in a small town outside of Galveston, TX. That was two meals Dad would usually eat for a day. He has been like this for over 4-weeks, maybe more. Nothing around the house is getting done. Now I have words. Upset, I firmly ask WHY hasn’t anyone told me this!?

Mom answers me, but it is that typical explanation from their generation:  It isn’t your problem or baggage. You carry your weight or more. You don’t wear so many heavy emotions on your sleeve for everyone and their uncle to see or hear! You chin-up, get up and carry on.

Right. Meanwhile, I am clueless and handicapped in helping, much less initiating help! This has always infuriated me about my parents and their generation. My Dad, an ex-U.S. Marine (scream Semper Phi!!!), is ten-times worse than Mom! I jump ahead now to return to my All Hallows theme…

It is Friday evening, July 20, 1990. As Mom had requested, I waited a day before calling Dad. In a very somber voice and manner Dad confirms everything Mom has told me. Where he struggles to keep down his intense emotions are when my questions involve Mom and their marriage, their teamwork or their lack of now. I do not want to speak bad about your mother. he would pause to compose himself, I refuse to do that. It’s unfair to you and your sister. What do you say when your father is right, but contesting him is so horribly inappropriate at the moment?

I moved on to other problems there:  tasks, chores, cleaning, all rooms inside, work outside in the yard. Mom and Carolyn (sister) tell me that lots of things are not getting done there.” I prepared myself for some sort of backlash or angered reply, perhaps something completely unexpected. Silence. I am going to come home tomorrow for the weekend and help around the house I told him. At least I can do that.” He said no. He explained that I had no need to miss work because your mother and I cannot workout our problems. He said convincingly that traveling that far was ridiculous and risky for my job-future. We will try to work this out. Stay there.” he sounded more upbeat, genuine, Do not come home, not yet.” Reluctantly I agreed, but we planned I’d come home the following weekend to help him around the house. Then he said some things he had never said to me before that I could not easily recollect…

I realize I have rarely said ‘I love you’ most of your life. My heart-rate and nerves are returning, I should’ve said it much more, but… he paused again. I do love you. I just share it in other ways. I hope you knew that.I acknowledged his unique habits and stoic tough military personality and said I understood. I returned the uncommon sentiments with sincere empathy and love.

visitor in my bedroom

It is now Monday early, early morning about 3:00 AM, July 23, 1990. As I started in this story I was jolted awake, convinced someone had broken in the apartment. I had seconds to do something. I was remarkably sharp and aware of everything. I sat there upright in bed listening for any noise, any motion to confirm or deny my first thoughts, first fears. I was convinced someone was in my bedroom! For some 30-45 seconds I did not hear anything. I did not see anything, in the dark, but I kept silent and upright. Not long after a minute or two of complete silence and motionless in bed, I felt this air of reassuring calm and peace come over me and into me. It was such a peculiar sensation given the moment. And as fast as I had been awakened I laid back down and immediately fell back into my prior deep sleep.

That morning I remembered how very strange the night had been and asked my roommate if he had come in, then went back out, or some other logical simple reason it happened. He told me no, he wasn’t even there. He was staying overnight at his girlfriend’s place. I dropped it, not intending to think anymore about it other than weird. Simply weird and way out of the ordinary for me.

It is Tuesday morning, July 24, 1990. My phone rings. It is my brother-in-law and I immediately sense something is wrong. He doesn’t call me on his own, or from his phone. It’s always with my sister. And in a shaky voice, pleading, he tells me Dwain, you have to come home now, as soon as possible. Jeff tries to gather himself, Your Dad killed himself. I found him down in the garage inside the car because he wasn’t answering the phone for three days straight. His breathing gets heavier, faster. Your Mom is in a complete meltdown. he sounds increasingly desperate, I’m handling your sister as best I can, but you have to get home fast.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Weeks later, maybe a month or so, I can’t remember exactly, the coroner and detective on the case tell us that Dad’s time of death was either late Saturday night, July 21 or sometime July 22, 1990. He said it was likely Sunday, July 22nd. It wasn’t until my life and my family’s lives returned to a degree of normalcy that I connected the dots. Or rather the bizarre coincidence of my unusual late night disturbance (of some kind) July 22-23 that jolted me awake and what the coroner and detective determined for Dad’s time of death.

I didn’t know it then that July night/morning it would be the last time I spoke to my father and those would be our last words together. What is fact is that I am certain of everything I’ve written here and I am 100% certain that whatever it was that jolted me out of my deep sleep to instant, acute awareness feeling someone was in my bedroom, was Sunday/Monday, July 22 or 23, 1990. What made it more bizarre was how soon after that weird sensation of going back into a calm and profound sleep so easily.

What is it that goes on, operates within the aether, moves in the atomic, subatomic, and Quantum range or wavelengths? Why is the infamous witching hour traditionally around 3:00 AM? Einstein agonizingly called it “spooky action at a distance.” What can be said and surmised about the thermodynamic law, in those unseen atomic/quantum levels known as Conservation of Mass/Energy? What I can share about it on a personal basis and incident is weird, bizarre, though I cannot prove it to anyone. But as I am writing this right now, on my honor it was quite real. That’s what I know. It’s all I can say, granted, during what was an extremely traumatic time in my life. It is my one and only Hallows true-story for the season.

————

Feel free to share your own favorites of fall and the season’s Hallows? Share your most spooky weird stories, special beloved celebrations, how you and/or your family decorate your home—pics will be required! What about meals or snacks prepared and enjoyed, or better still what astonishing events of paranormal activity have you experienced personally or heard from a close, good (dignified) friend! You have until November 1st to remember them and comment throughout this Hallows theme.

————

Halloween breaker

Mackbeth Witch quote_footer_1

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Hallows Coming – Eliot

Nearing closer the night of All Hallows, our poet finds man’s plight shallow with echoes.

————

W - Nemo font_halloweene are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

Sudama_and_Lomas_Rishi_Caves_at_Barabar,_Bihar,_1870

echoing Barabar Caves, Makhdumpur region of Jehanabad, India c. 1870

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

————

Care to share your own favorites of fall and the season’s Hallows? Share your most spooky stories, special beloved celebrations, how you and/or your family decorate your home—pics will be required! What about meals or snacks prepared and enjoyed, or better still what astonishing events of paranormal activity have you experienced personally or heard from a close, good (dignified) friend! You have until November 1st to remember them and comment throughout this Hallows theme.

————

Halloween breaker

2-Macbeth quote bats_footer_2

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.