Tag Archives: poetry

We still need Aesop

birds of a feather

photo from amazon

I did love Aesop as a kid, but there are droll modern Aesops redux that entertain and still do the job.

These Aesops are better attuned to today’s tastes. Birds of a Feather is a delight. The illustrations by Robert Rayevsky are a visual feast, witty and beautifully matched with the brief rhymed fables by Tom Paxton. We need this wisdom more than ever. If you’re sharing with a little one, they get a laugh and a lesson before they even know it.

“All vultures’ hope of dinner ends When enemies become great friends.” – Peace Breaks Out

Leave a comment

Filed under children's poetry, illustrated, quotable, reviews, social currents


It isn’t that I am bloody minded.  I am- I did, after all, just advise a friend whose husband was dropping dramatic hints that he might be starting the flu YET AGAIN to just smother him with a pillow. But that is a useful thought any time of the year, yes?

And I love the original dark and violent Grimm’s fairy tales, Disney will never compare, and I love Angela Carter’s fairy tale collection The Bloody Chamber, and… and…

But no, it isn’t the pain, gore, fear, Freddy, Jason, murder, mayhem, angry spirits back to exact revenge recently brought to Halloween.

I love Halloween for its sense of possibility. The light is changing, the weather is changing, the dark folds its arms around us for longer and longer each night… there’s a funny energy of ‘not quite the same’ or perhaps even ‘not quite right’ (of course, ‘right’ isn’t always good…) Who knows what one might see or dream up and be able to create and share if one were only paying attention, or what dear departed soul might touch us gently and remind us just how much they love us if we were just paying attention?

Every year Halloween sneaks up on me. This year I had fun appreciating the season, and had time to watch my beloved Nightmare Before Christmas- although strictly speaking, NMBC takes place in the days AFTER Halloween, but you know, Christmas season cannot last too long.

But why didn’t I take the time all month long, starting the very day the light began to slant and the shadows to lengthen as autumn came on, to let my imagination run wild over the emotional and visual landscape of the possible? So many wonderful literary works are available to light up the dark corners of our imagination in the most delicious ways.

What are some of your favorite Halloween time reads?

Sister, can you spare a shiver?

These are some that come to mind for me, off the top of my head.

Goblin Market, with its sense of being trapped by our own desires- try illustrating that in your mind!  

The intertwining of fate, romance, and a shiver of the supernatural of  Halloween by Robert Burns, the sober observations of Poe’s Spirits of the Dead and the lovely dramatic longing and grief of his Lenore,  even the Princess books by Mac Donald – The Princess and Curdie are available free on Project Gutenberg, hurrah!!

One of the Cottingly Fairy Photos

One of the Cottingly Fairy Photos

A. Conan Doyle’s fairy books, and other Victorian era books on magic or spiritualism- Aleister Crowley, Edgar Cayce anyone?



Or let’s get crazy and  move on to the tricky, angry demons and other wonderful beings of world religions and mythology, or perhaps the fantastical scientific and biological alternate history / almost true landscape of the most wonderful series I have ever read, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials  trilogy. The possible, the possible, the possible…  don’t shy away from the darker works. They  invite us into the closet of our imagination, where we hide our creative vision and sense of wonder.

What about the doors Neil Gaiman’s books or Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits (lightweight compared to, say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, yes, but soulful!) open to how these many creatures and spirits must look? Why didn’t I read more carefully that copy of Vampires, Burial and Death I sold a few weeks ago?

Never mind.

I will re post this next year, with the same question- what, to you, is the most delicious read you can think of, related to other worlds, unknown creatures or beings, magic? Inquiring minds want to know. Today, next year, share a delicious shiver, would you?

1 Comment

Filed under halloween, Poems and Poets

Birthday (For L_____, October First) by Jean Starr Untermeyer


1 Comment

September 30, 2013 · 10:10 pm