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All Hallows’ Eve

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All Hallows’ Eve

It had been a dreary sort of day beneath low, grey skies of late Autumn; the last day of October - All Hallows’ Eve - Samhain in the old agricultural calendar. The Jackdaw coming in early against a sullen afterglow, fall silent. Leaves rustle beneath my feet, patterning my path; before a gust of wind swirls them around, dumping them in some forgotten corner of the churchyard 1. The clocks already gone back, the past week; the evenings drawing in. It’ll be dark soon ...

evening wind 
colors of the day
blown away

© Jane Reichhold 2000.

The wind drops. The hunters (blue) moon shining through thinning cloud brings a distinct chill. Not a night to be out. No trick or treats this year. I hurry past the churchyard; the ancient twisted yews casting spooky shadows across my path. I shiver. Childhood fears not forgotten ...

all hallows’eve 
a barn owl haunts
the churchyard

The calls of the Barn Owl follow me. The single lamp lighting my way splutters and pops as I pass; the candle flickering in the parlour window suddenly snuffed out. Lost in the darkness again ...

Footnotes

  1. The church, a 19th century grade II listed building is dedicated to St Deinol. It was rebuilt on the site of much older one, and is in an isolated position on a rise above the marshes. It stands in a churchyard and active cemetery surrounded by a roughly coursed rubblestone wall, with just a few cottages nearby. The entrance is guarded by some old yews reputedly some 2000 years or more old.
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navasolanature
October 31, 2020 10:09 pm

Beautiful depth to this and such a contrast to spooky mania.

Padmini
November 1, 2020 2:39 am

There is a calmness in the prose and the haiku, but it still conveys a creepy feeling. I can imagine a person rushing away from the churchyard as an Owl calls him, wanting him to come back.

Padmini Krishnan
November 25, 2020 10:34 am
Reply to  Padmini

I thought that the ghost was close to the narrator, but read the last lines again and realized it. Thanks for pointing it out.

Ashley
November 1, 2020 12:54 pm

Excellent writing Clive. Your spooky picture is very atmospheric. I suspect like me you’re not one for the commercialisation of this time of year! I lit some candles in the garden and remembered those who are no longer with us. It’s not morbid but respectful and grateful.

Sabishī
November 11, 2020 4:34 am

I enjoyed your All Hallow’s Eve post, Clive! I would really love to see your barn owl haiku converted to hokku and displayed in the Hokku Garden. Please think about it!! I know others who would love that, also.

The other night I heard a great horned owl very close to our backyard deck, and I was actually scared to go out there, thinking of their razor-sharp talons with the blood of a squirrel dripping off of them (possibly, ha)! They are the reason why I don’t allow our chihuahua-sized dog out after dark.

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November 12, 2020 3:57 am

[…] This late autumn hokku was composed by Clive Bennett. It’s haiku version can be found here. […]

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November 12, 2020 4:13 am

[…] This late autumn hokku was composed by Clive Bennett. […]

Clare Pooley
Clare Pooley
November 14, 2020 5:19 pm

beautifully atmospheric, Clive!