A short poem for the season... I wrote it in 1996.
Masked children, running like ungainly scarecrows
up and down the sidewalks.
Beneath fireworks leaves falling from trees
to carpet the ground with crunchy corpses of summer's green.
And the air - that smells like pumpkins burned by candles too
close to their carved tops - carries the vague kiss
of coming winter, hintingly noticeable on the cool
breeze that lifts the dried husks and rustles the garbage bags
on treelawns. The orange sky (so like the leaves, on the trees)
fades and the shadows begin to stretch.
The shadows lengthen and grow and the darkness
settles like a great black sheet on the bed of the autumn world.
And the chill deepens in the breeze as the moon peaks from behind clouds.
The innocuous rustle of leaves becomes different in the blackness that now
has crept into every corner and crevice and has dulled the pallet of
colors that was here in the light.
And Death walks the streets and caresses, with smooth hands, the trunks
of trees and blades of grass; murmuring a lullaby to send them off to their
The wind pushes through the driveways and walkways between the houses.
The houses tower in turn of the century gothic repose
while, inside, people cower like prey; paranoid, afraid, alone;
flinching at the creak of hardwood floors and settling
foundations and other, more disturbing sounds.
While the beast that is autumn night snuffles and
scratches at the scarred front doors and the blackness
of the hallways and unlit rooms hide nightmares better left undreamed.
Meanwhile, the rictus grins of flickering jack- o'- lanterns
watch soundlessly from porch windows as the blowing
leaves march through the dark streets like a tiny,