The house was empty, but the years went by
And children came and wouldn’t go away
No matter how you scolded; at first a few,
And then so many that you couldn’t tell
Which ones were yours and which belonged to neighbors.
You told them they could stay if they’d be quiet
And keep their fingers out of stuff that bubbled;
They meddled, though, made noise, and teased the cat.
They used to follow you when you were busy,
Pull at your sleeves and whine for magic tricks,
Even at their own expense. They never learned
That magic mostly is an attitude;
The bats and mice would play with them by the fire,
But only because they took the time to play
With harmless creatures in a lonely house;
Now, grown and impatient, they still look for magic.
When one of them knocks at the door with a list in his hand
Or a look in his eye that says, I need a chain
Of nine green stones, one broken; an old ring
That opens up to hold a dram of poison;
A brooch of Bonaparte’s hair; some copper coins
Melted and stuck together; a flint axe
That could and might have scalped a pilgrim; or
Five seashells frozen in a limestone base;
You hate to tell him, once you kept such things,
But now in rented lodgings have no room
For household store. But son, you say, take this,
An apple burnished like a dragon’s egg,
A gleaming sphere that holds a treasure. Listen,
Son, this apple has a star in it.
But he is gone and never sees the fire
Between your fingers lighting up the night.
By JRC, April 1995
Birds for Halloween:
A Swap Package from Dawn, with treasures too numerous to name. Highlights are a wonderful fabric Halloween book, stickers galore (monsters and witches and vampires), a Michael's catalog, a fabric pumpkin pin, and lots of flowers, candles, and creepy creatures.
One of the most notable goodies is this great Trick-Or-Treat Garland:
I'll hang it on the front door Friday evening.