Happy Halloween!!

 

by 

Halloween has always been a special day for me, the spectacle, the sweets and. . .its my birthday.  So on this blessed day, I would offer you the musings of the famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Longfellow’s family had puritan religious leanings.  However, his brother was a Unitarian and he was inclined toward that movement through his friendship with William Ellery Channing, minister of the then, Federal Street Church (now Arlington Street Church).  Of particular note, especially as it may relate to the Longfellow’s own sentiments in the poem below, one biographer notes, “After Henry’s death

 

and funeral, his brother, Samuel, wrote to a friend: ‘The daughters are brave and cheerful, and go on with all their accustomed life in the house, which seems so full of his bright and kindly presence that I cannot think of him as gone from it. It seems, too, as if the blessings of those he has cheered and strengthened fill the air . . . ‘”  I hope his words bring you as much ponderous delight as they have me over the years.

Aaron

Haunted Houses

ning of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

 

 

All houses wherein men have lived and died

Are haunted houses. Through the open doors

The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,

 

With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

 

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,

Along the passages they come and go,

Impalpable impressions on the air,

A sense of something moving to and fro.

 

There are more guests at table than the hosts

Invited

 

; the illuminated hall

Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,

As silent as the pictures on the wall.

 

The stranger at my fireside cannot see

The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;

He but perceives what is; while unto me

All that has been is visible and clear.

 

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;

Owners and occupants of earlier dates

From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,

And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

 

The spirit-world around this world of sense

Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere

Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense

A vital breath of more ethereal air.

 

Our little lives are kept in equipoise

By opposite attractions and desires;

The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,

And the more noble instinct that aspires.

 

These perturbations, this perpetual jar

Of earthly wants and aspirations high,

Come from the influence of an unseen star

An undiscovered planet in our sky.

 

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud

Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,

Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd

Into the realm of mystery and night,-

 

So from the world of spirits there descends

A bridge of light, connecting it with this,

O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,

 

Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.