- NYS Writers Institute
Poetry Friday: Halloween edition
By Joel Benton (1832–1911)
Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
All are on their rounds to-night,—
In the wan moon’s silver ray
Thrives their helter-skelter play.
Fond of cellar, barn, or stack
True unto the almanac,
They present to credulous eyes
Strange hobgoblin mysteries.
Cabbage-stumps—straws wet with dew—
Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
And a mirror for some lass
Show what wonders come to pass.
Doors they move, and gates they hide
Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride
Are their deeds,—and, by their spells,
Love records its oracles.
Don’t we all, of long ago
By the ruddy fireplace glow,
In the kitchen and the hall,
Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?
Every shadows were they then—
But to-night they come again;
Were we once more but sixteen
Precious would be Hallowe’en.
"Hallowe'en" was published in The Book of Hallowe'en (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1919). This poem is in the public domain.
Joel Benton (1832–1911) was an American poet. He was born in 1832 in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York. As well as writing poetry, he also published Emerson As A Poet (1882), The Truth About Protection (1892), Greeley on Lincoln (1893), In the Poe Circle (1899) and A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career: Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum. He died in 1911 in Poughkeepsie.