Halloween : A Very Scary Poem

“I couldn’t bear to look around, in case he was actually there. As long as I didn’t look
back, I could keep him as a phantom.” – Sebastian Barry

It happens just when you feel safe :
Behind you there’s a sound
That makes you want to find out what
It is by turning round.

But if you turn around you do
Not know what you will see :
Suppose it’s something horrible
— Too horrible to flee ?

Better perhaps to make believe
You’ve heard nothing at all
And tuck your head between your legs
And try to curl up small.

But even so your back can feel
A ripple in the air,
Which means what’s there is coming close
— Oh Terror, Oh Despair !

And then a touch and then a noise :
This Fear will never end
— Until the touch proves gentle and
The noise is “Hiya, friend !”

Robert Ilson,
Poet Laureate