§ This year my annual Halloween poem speaks of true demons: the demons of one’s heart and mind and spirit… §
Since beginning this blog in 2017, it’s been my brief tradition to include a ghostly little poem for Halloween. I began with a sweet but mysterious story poem I wrote for my great niece and nephew, Ghost Kitty Walks, and continued in 2018 with another story poem I had written decades ago, Struggling Home–a work that, when written, told an engagingly creepy ghost story while actually helping me exorcise some old anguish.
Bearing those two blog posts in mind, I searched through my hundreds (no exaggeration, this–quite genuinely several hundred) of poems for a verse also written many years ago, Alicia Walks Softly. This was another story poem, about a ghost who walked nightly to weep at the site of her own grave. It seemed an appropriately seasonal subject! Unfortunately, I could not locate the poem. I wasted a somewhat-pleasant hour sifting through ring binders and loose sheets and simply scads of poems, amusing myself, reading a number of verses that were quite frankly awful (why in the name of God did I write that, and–bigger question–why on earth did I ever keep it?!), and astonishing myself with works I had forgotten and had, unbelievably, written, and written well, at very young ages. Hunting for Alicia Walks Softly proved fruitless, though. It was simply nowhere to be found. And, sadly, I could recall only the first stanza and the final line of the work–far too little to reconstruct it.
But as I sifted through my poetry–so much written, so few (only six) ever published–I came across one that, while definitely neither a story in verse nor a ghost poem, seemed to fit the bill for my Halloween-themed blog. Certainly, it spoke to the seasonal topic with its references to demons. This time, though, my poem speaks of true demons: the demons and devils of one’s heart and mind and soul.
And so, for this Halloween blog, I offer you Rooms of Darkness.
Rooms of Darkness
I sleep in rooms of darkness, no longer needing light.
But in my distant childhood, I feared the coming night,
for ghosts and devils, demons, each eve awaited me,
with caves formed by my covers the only place to flee.
No more such childish tremors. The shadows of my room
mold not the shapes of devils from shades within the gloom.
I’ve not the indecision to open or to close
my eyes–to face the horror, or hide in shammed repose.
I am adult. My demons stand squarely in the sun.
I’ve even less escape route. There is no place to run
where heartache cannot conquer, nor need not locate me.
From loss, distress, confusion, there is no place to flee.
I vanquished childhood’s demons, I thought, but did not know
that creatures forged in sadness will follow where one goes.
The shades and shapes of sorrow still rule my troubled heart.
I’ve never quite forsaken my demons of the dark.
May you have a fun, happy and ghost-free Halloween!