Sunday, October 12, 2008
autumn always urges me to read English Romantics, I guess because the poems are so landscapey, and of a climate at least somewhat akin to New England. this has been a preternatural New England fall weekend, the colours seeming transcendent, with a similar emotional heft as when the spring flowers bloom. but one sees, alas, bumblebees doggedly gathering in the dahlias, still collecting pollen, but frail now, chilled and worn. I wonder a lot about Halloween and its appeal. the decorations arrive with the same early rush as Christmas now. people are going to pretty fancy lengths to decorate appropriately for the holiday, if I can call it that. Pottery Barn has a Halloween-inspired dinner table displayed, hi-gear accouterments like silver skulls at each place setting. apparently a market exists even for lavish dinner parties of a Halloweenish nature. I would not have thunk it. I guess I do not like Halloween because there is no thought behind it, no measure. a semi-ironic play with horror, and the opportunity to dress up, cosplay. but no acknowledgment of a Golden Bough dimension to the proceedings, just arch reference to scary. it seems like this time of harvest and fade deserves better attention, at least in the way that Thanksgiving or Christmas offer lip service to the underpinnings. bumblebees are dying with Puritan work ethic, and people are just sending unheeded consultations from the unconscious. well I guess I'm a poopypants, but there is such a poetic savour to this time, that the corny exultation of effect that is Halloween seems a poor substitute for the due confrontation. monsters... a remarkably chilling yard display that I saw years ago consisted of a life size human figure standing in the yard holding a rake or shovel. it just looked like an old man standing there, but somehow the inference was easy that his wife or a neighbourhood child was buried somewhere in the yard, or some other evil intention fulfilled. a damn sight more chilling than those gravestones for Frank N Stein. but what is the purpose or proposal of such a display? or how does that display fit anything we find necessary. I do not say it doesn't, I just ask how. poetry lives in a world of glum lack of horizon much of the time: centralized evocations of self-explanation, verbal pomade for some radiated trend, or other weak entries to the communal trough. Halloween grips us, it seems, but it has not made its vocabulary known. perhaps there's some reading to do.