after Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas All Hallows’ Eve, and all through the house
Every creature was stirring, even our pet mouse
Oh the pumpkins were carved with very great care
In the hope that trick-or-treaters soon would be there
The children were agitated, not one in her bed
As visions of sweet treats danced in their heads
Dad and I in our costumes and me with my cap
Had settled by the door listening for the first rap
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
We sprang to our feet to check on the matter
We threw open our door to offer sweet stash
While witches flew by, all glitter and flash
And the moon on the rise and the dark ground below
Gave lustre and bluster to ghosts on the go
And what to our startled eyes should appear,
But a miniature ballerina among goblins, one bear
Now, Alice! Now Ernie! Now Jimmy! Now Chris!
Come little Tony, big Brandy and Trish
To the top of the stairs, don’t any one fall …
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all

©2010, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


Write a Halloween poem or a poem commemorating a traditional fall celebration from your own culture.  If you feel comfortable, leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below. All work shared on theme will be published here next Tuesday. Anyone is welcome to take part no matter the status of your career, beginning, emerging or established.  You have until Monday, October 30 at 8 pm PST.



  1. My first response Jamie :

    #Addiction on Halloween #
    It was the time of coming winter after fall
    And she came from a ball
    It was a Halloween evening
    She loved and groped that Eve harmonizing
    It was the time for feast
    She loved the spirit though came from the east
    It was the time for fun
    She wore gleaming costumes with a bun
    It was the time to unfold new spirit
    The air blowing felt different autumn waved and heart enlightened bright
    It was the eve when the pall between worlds was sleazy
    And to rhyme melodies of worlds was so easy
    It was the time to taste candy
    She relished its flavour with a brandy
    It was the time to sense eerieness lurking around the corner
    And the eastern country girl addicted to all unknown being just a learner .
    ©Kakali Das Ghosh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. there’s something about a bonfire

    that compels you: perhaps it’s the flames
    that leap and curl (free engulfing spirits)
    or lick gently at the dead waste
    calming to eat away at the centre of things
    throughout the empty night

    perhaps it’s the isolation –
    you and Fire alone in the dark night
    in which reflecting fires hang forever

    perhaps it’s purification –
    sterilisation of assembled dross… its reduction
    to a usable commodity associated with
    the neat feeling of arranging a garden
    in the midst of the wilderness

    perhaps it’s like death – convenient
    tidy cleansing eradicating…
    my father knew what he was doing ordering
    ‘No Mourners’: if they’d been there
    it would have been attenuated
    hypocritical unholy

    fire is none of these things

    (1971/72 revised 1982 revised 1992)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful after poem. May I suggest a little change on line 6?
    The children were agitated, not one in her bed
    As visions of sweet treats danced in each head


  4. Jamie a second response….

    .. then there is halloween..


    not on saturday although that may be

    more convenient. all hallows,

    the reading of the dead.


    dust. just

    names .

    we made the pumpkin again, it comes easier with practice.

    he came to tell me about the new baby and said boo . dinner


    the names of the dead

    are read.


    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes of course, Jamie, if you think it’s appropriate. ‘Twould be nice if you could include the link to Joe’s blog about the piece and thus its first performance. The words are obviously mine, the music Joe’s.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed your variation on The Night Before Christmas, Jamie. It is close enough in its rhythm and sentiment to retain the charm of the original, but it cleverly captures the essence of All Hallows’ at the same time. Great job.

    Meanwhile, I confess that l’m not a great fan of Halloween, the cynical old goat that I am. Too much commercialism. I can however offer a seasonal look at this time of year, with the lyric of the piece Joe wrote for Jenny Whittaker to perform … link will follow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I acttually prefer celebrating All Souls Day, which allows me to honor those who have gone before me. I wrote this one for the elders in my building who were trying to celebrate Halloween in the way they remembered. Thanks for the feedback and upcoming link. Lovely, John!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m with you in that preference, Jamie. Interestingly, Fox Valley Voices, chamber choir, will be singing a John Rutter’s Requiem on 3rd November, which is a fitting way to commemorate All Souls Day.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamie,

    My first response:

    Time Fetches


    Received English version

    Watch yourself as it’ll soon be time
    that the tall hawthorn hedge
    that bars you from other worlds
    becomes thin this season
    in it’s cloud ghosted ditch
    so folk from the other side
    can bleed through to ours
    and you’ll see these weird folk
    walk outside your door.

    Burn a candle in your home
    and light lanterns, jack o’lanterns,
    candles outdoors to show
    the weird folk, spirits and all
    the direct way back. We don’t
    want them to detour where
    they are not welcome. Respect them
    and they’ll respect you.

    This night light a fire
    in your hearth
    to protect yourself
    or better yourself.

    Write on a scrap a paper
    a part of your life
    that you wish to be rid off,
    such as anger, a baneful habit,
    misplaced feelings, disease.

    Throw it in the flame
    so you may lose
    that part you’re ashamed of

    Yorkshire Dialect version

    Watch thee sen as time fetches on
    as tall hawthorn hedge that bars
    tha from t’other worlds
    in its cloud ghosted ditch
    gets thin this season so as folk
    from other side can fetch them
    sens over an bleed through to ours
    and tha’ll see these weird folk
    take a stride outside thee door.

    Blaze a candle in tha home
    and set a flicker lanterns, jack o’lanterns,
    candles outdoors to show
    the weird folk, spirits and all
    direct way back to where
    they bide from, so as they don’t
    detour where they’re not welcome.
    Respect them, they’ll respect thee.

    This night light a fire
    in tha hearth
    for to protect thee sen
    or better thee sen.

    Scribe on a scrap a paper
    a part of thee life
    tha wish to be rid on
    anger, a baneful habit,
    misplaced feelings, disease.

    Lob it int flame
    so tha may lose
    that part tha ashamed on.

    This Samhain, All Hallows Eve

    place on your table a skull,
    small animal skeletons
    of shrews, mice, rats disgorged by
    forest owls. Lay your gravestone
    rubbings as welcome placemats.

    Down the centre carved pumpkins,
    squash, carrots, swede amongst pine nuts,
    walnuts and berries, and dark
    breads, rye, pumpernickel, dried
    yellow, red leaves, open fir cones.

    Fill a cornucopia
    with abundant fruit, apples, pears,
    leeks. Fill each cup with apple cider,
    sweet wine, or honey mead.

    Light all with fragrant candles,
    to flicker over the plenty.

    The table is a thankyou,
    a blessing on the goodness.

    Go outside, collect dead plants,
    to twist and turn and mold a man
    or woman to bring inside,
    and place on the table.

    Give thanks to them and your dead
    ancestors before you eat.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks Jamie. response

    .there is a day.

    when i listen to cowboy films

    on the radio, carve the pumpkin,

    breath held in case they scalp him.

    every year the same, festival stress

    reduced by wanton knowledge

    that none of it matters, that I can achieve,

    that maybe even I could be worthy, the same

    as you.

    a surprise party after,

    no one came,

    no surprise, no one invited,

    only you.


    Liked by 1 person

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