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Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween: A Time to Read (Ghost Stories)


October's "Bright Blue Weather": A good time to read!
: Albert M. Bender, 1936 [?], for Illinois WPA Art Project (Work Projects Administration Collection, Library of Congress)

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Strange to turn to old ghosts, watch ourselves dissolve
In their eyes. They were not here to help us,
Merely to drag us back against our will
Into a dim becalmed past, then forward into
Occluded presents which yet feel too bright

Fichier:Gekko Emperor Godaigo.jpg

Emperor Go-Daigo, dreaming of ghosts at his palace in Gaigo: Gekko Ogata, 1890

Identification Tags

Ghosts do wear sheets but not for sleeping.

Sometimes people die while still alive
and then come back to life
but only partially. You can read the signs
around the eyes, which get
a dusty look like burned out hundred watt bulbs.

When they pass one another on the streets
there is a soft noise, as of muslin touching.

Union Station waiting room, Chicago: photos by Jack Delano, January 1943 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)


Nin Andrews said...

I love that--soft noise as of muslin touching.
Reminds me a little of the souls that barely touch down ---as they drift towards forgetting.

ACravan said...

Ditto Nin's comment. I really believe these are the best Halloween poems and that the sets of words and images work perfectly and delight my imagination. I would like to present these to Jane's English teacher and ask her to show these to the class. I think they would enjoy it and would learn so much about what words can do and how words prompt pictures and pictures words. And I'm reasonably sure that none of her classmates know the word "occluded." (By the way, they are currently making their way through "Lord Of The Flies." Curtis

TC said...

We all want to feel that gauzy drift.

Where do I sign up.

The Lord of the Flies. A vivid memorial of the Occluded Period.

Have THOSE days come round again, then??

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

The sign in the last Union Station photo—great shot, by the way—is it saying “Don’t Waste Transportation?” One thing for sure—the poems don’t waste any words but that unfortunately isn’t a sign of our times.

TC said...


Jack Delano's sequence builds up to that one -- the perfect shot.

Yes, that is indeed what the sign says.

And makes some sense, when you think on it a bit.