A warmish breeze blows around the walls of my home. Not a living soul wanders at this time in the night. Sweeties await all those who dare knock on my door. A small army of Trick-or-Treaters usually brave wildest of gusts.
Strange, as the final night of October usually feels crisper. Have lit candles around each room, carved my pumpkin just after dusk... Nightfall so precocious now clocks reverted to Nordic blackness. It is a time of reflection as flames follow dance of shadows. Tonight, we celebrate spirits of all our departed loved ones to the Other world.
Tonight, my heart welcomes Samhain , the autumn's farming festival, with warmth and compassion.
Three nights ago, we were applauding our Shetland Librarians, who put a show in full spirit and regalia. Led by Karen Fraser & her gang of intrepid colleagues, actors, poets and musicians entertained a gathering of fine folk for nearly two hours. Shetland Library 's Second Edition of Halloween Night, Tales of Mystery & Terror, starred local based Serpentine Drama Group among other troubadours.
Kat(astrophe) Brack opened the ball with accounts of chilling short stories, a poignant war poem and a wacky rap! Her very first attempt in the (third) genre she confessed on the night! The Hellish Fiddler kept everybody on their toes (and ears) in-between each act...
Then entered Serpentine , with a chilling tale entitled Three Brides,
led by writer, playwright & actress Jane McKay. The troupe of formidable amateur actors kept the audience on edge till the very end.
Jordan "Ogre" closed the curtain for Part One with a string of sombre, ghostly songs acoustic style. Our Hellish Fiddler, as pictured in the background, behaved herself till our hostess invited the whole assembly to potions and elixirs during the interlude. Her shrieking fiddle remained silent, as Jordan struck the final chords on his guitar.
Nat H(orrid), the Blackbird from the north, as introduced by Miss Fraser, opened the second part of the evening's entertainment... Two poems, acrostic Halloween & The Ferryman, especially written for the occasion, were shared among two other characters, The Ghoul, by American poet Jack Prelutsky and The Hag, by English poet Robert Herrick.
Serpentine's masters of speech, through Debbie Nicolson & Peter Ratter, delighted the audience further with delightful performances in their own style and verve. Peter even had to drop his fangs for more palatable enunciation! But then, Morag appeared on stage with a chilling & true account of horror based on her ancestor's involvement with Yell's most horrific (and world famous) spooky home, Windhouse. The tone was now firmly set in red tarnished darkness!
"Milford The Malevolent" (usually so reserved around the library...) closed the night's catalogue of Tales of Mystery & Terror with un certain je ne sais quoi of light-heartedness and savage guitar riffs, which kept the entire assembly in effroi and laughters - that is, once he plugged in his Gibson and let it resonate in utter amplified horrid style! An impromptu technical contre-temps was so delicately filled by our dear Hellish Fiddler with a certain delight, as she was eventually let loose for some serious deafening solo triads whilst Milford was getting ready! ...What a night! Until next October, Our dear hellish Fiddler will remain an angel.
My grateful thanks for your invitation, dear Shetland Librarians.
Performing under your roof remains a pleasure.
Now, over one hour has passed since I began tonight's entry, and not a single set of knuckles resonated on the wood of my front door. Spooky, as my pumpkin still signals my will to treat. maybe they will appear later... Maybe they met with the spirits and decided to play elsewhere. October's final gusts sweep this evening's hours and makes way to November.
Here's to you all:
Hail the spirits
Lollipop, candy, sweet death,
Open your door to Jack,
Witches, ghouls, free that night,
Even carved pumpkin smiles at windows…
Ecstasy through the eyes of ravens,
Nacarat on long sleeves of scarecrows.
© Nat Hall 2011
Welcome to the Gates of Hades,
where sailors throw coins to the gods,
adrift between heaven & hell,
knell of blue swell
on wooden hulls...
Don't look for the Isle of the Blest,
no need to bribe the ferryman.
Listen for silence from shadows
who wander through dark-dreary land;
now throw your flowers
knell of blue swell
against your hull,
pay your due to the ferryman.
Hold on to the side of your boat,
where water bears so many names:
river of woe, fire or hate,
Now raise your glass to the raven,
heaven or hell,
knell of blue swell,
one-way fare to the ferryman.
© Nat Hall 2011
Happy Samhain, Happy Halloween!