by NONA BLYTH CLOUD
What a lot of words we have in English for the things that give us that unsettling tingly feeling!
eer-ie – adjective
uncanny, sinister, ghostly, unnatural, unearthly, odd,
supernatural, otherworldly, strange, abnormal, weird, freakish, creepy, scary, spooky, freaky, frightening,
bone-chilling, spine-chilling, hair-raising, blood-curdling . . .
Middle English, originally of northern English-Scots origin, related to German arg
In the Northern Hemisphere, October is the month we need all these words. As the temperature cools, the nights grow longer, and misty halos wreathe streetlamps and porch lights, we find ourselves looking over our shoulders more often, and listening for sounds that seem just at the edge of our hearing. And all of that culminates in Halloween, all Hallows Eve, the ancient Celtic Samhain.
So I’ve assembled some poems to suit this Autumnal mood. Don’t be surprised if you start feeling like something is watching you – and waiting . . .
Rae Armantrout (1947 – ) was born in Vallejo Valley CA, and has published eleven books of poetry so far. She has been teaching writing at the University of California, San Diego for a couple of decades. Armantrout was awarded the 2009 National Books Critics Award and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Versed
Haunted, they say, believing
the soft, shifty
dunes are made up
of false promises.
is the other half
of a conversation.
to the dead.
“The boys are doing really well.”
nothing is so
until it has been witnessed.
the bits are iffy;
the forces that bind them,
“Djinn” from Partly, © 2016 by Rae Armantrout – Wesleyan University Press