O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1 Corinthians 15:55
Open, dark sepulchers! Autumnal woe
Whips the dead leaves, which scattering, whirl below.
Bright orange memories of summer’s cheer
Flame out in phantom grimaces of fear.
Bare eldritch limbs reach out against the dusk
And spectral winds disturb each withered husk.
Thoughts wax sinister, existentially . . .
For such we shall become, eventually.
All hallowed saints acknowledge even this,
Departed from a world they do not miss.
Unable to assimilate true night,
The nation now embraces plastic fright,
Satanic sweetness surfeiting its young
while judgement in the wings, awaits, unsung.
They purchase Chinese plastic slasher-masks
To celebrate those diabolic tasks
They wish were only nightmares of the mind;
And so they show they’re spiritually blind;
Culturally and politically as well,
For thinking there’s no Heaven, nor a Hell.
As if Life’s stunning triumph thrills them less
Than spectral superstitions they profess.
They glorify the grave, though life is good—
Their children freely tour the neighborhood . . .
Oppression that prevails beyond our lands
Bears testament to this. Who understands
How real the threat of gruesome harm can be
Where terror’s costly fear is given free?
Imagine those who fled forevermore
Real graves and bones, blood; homelands wracked by war—
Survivors, having seen such things fulfilled
May wish they could forget how some were killed;
Their Halloween replaced with realer fates:
By bombs, in wars, in dark tyrannic states.
From whence true refugees take flight from death
To live where freedom draws an easier breath.
Uprooted, then transplanted, seeking life,
Believing they have now escaped the strife
Must they be thus subjected yet again
To fear’s oppressive rule, so now as then?
Traumatic scenes are glimpsed, it’s all in fun . . .
Meanwhile, those who have lived it come undone.
Ironic morbid joke: where freedom reigns
To purchase fake cadaverous remains;
Permit the grave to thus enslave our brains.
There was a brighter side to all this rot:
In neighborhoods your adult mind forgot;
So long ago, so lost in childhood’s mist.
Of what did earlier Halloweens consist?
It wasn’t all about the grave, the gore.
You didn’t buy your costume at the store.
Your mommy helped you tailor some disguise;
A character to charm, and to surprise
The neighbors known to live along your street.
Nostalgic masquerade: the bittersweet . . .
Now, our nation’s hypoglycemic kids
Gorge on what diabetes’ law forbids.
Macabre, this epidemic in our streets:
Sugar-addicted specters draped in sheets
Or dressed in Wal-Mart costumes of the damned
Who ask for candy (grabbing on demand).
Were I the Lord, I’d find it all less cute
And curse it, as the fig-tree, to its root—
Slam shut the cover on the fearful tome,
Restore true life, reviving every home
Till Treats and Tricks alike speak more of faith
And God’s own Spirit banish every wraith.
The horrors you exhume in idle hours
To haunt your artificial autumn bowers
Are real for some, who question, once a year
What’s wrong with you, romanticizing fear,
When Death and Hell are real—and ever near.