What of October, that ambiguous month, the month of tension, the unendurable month?
- Doris Lessing
“No, my brothers, my sisters, some kiss to kill a pumpkin’s
Full moons or boyishly kick them to shattered shards -
Some young things which take crepe and cardboard for skins
To make out pirate hats, robot heads and leopards,
Hold ghostly linen poses and suppose one’s dead kin’s
Plot thickens them in their white-picketed grave yards. . . “
It is October in October country, where
A preachy preacher preaches
With black fashions and a darkly held air
On why God fell for his creatures
And why the Fall is all too cold and rare
For Jack-O’s lantern-jawed features
Too long fermenting in his own sugar.
Here are time’s border lands, where perhaps a pheasant
Will stick its garrishly-ringed neck
From beyond the woods, bejeweled crescent
In quick, flightless, tremulous trek
Through the hunter-harried air, chill, pleasant,
Demanding an awful respect
For mercury’s merciful fall and dissent.
But forget it, Pastor Pumpkinhead. Make the Fall
As darkly, grotesquely comic
As you want, the door in the garden wall
Rusts fast with frost and still will stick
On the hinges of justice – so we all
Retain enough skull flesh to prick
Even consciences rendered skeletal.
“. . .And so, daylight saves its ends like straw fired in paraffin
Replacing a clergy’s empty head inside a pumpkin
For the hollowed-out evenings before every Halloween
To ignite the night with a jagged, opal-fired grin. “