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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ghosts On the Hudson

A lark, to go to the summit
At night, see the valley
Land of Ichabod Crane.
We are nine of us, what
Could be the harm or fear?

Starless night, cold in
These mountains;
Although it’s August.
The children are carried as backpacks
We will go to see “the haunts”.

Laughing on the trail,
Confident – no moon.
Stars seem shrouded and
The valley is filmed in shreds of fog.
We joke and sing as we ascend.

At the summit we are lords
Of all that we survey.
Ethereal night, ribbon
Of silver river.
A sturdy Coleman torch to guide us.

A gust, and the torch fails.
And now the night and sky
Take on a new meaning –
Ghostly, laughing at us….
Mere mortals.

And those Catskill legends
Abound and are boundless.
A match, a lighter – why
Does it take endless time?
A flare—and…

We are just campers again
Upstate, safe, no ghosts.
For now.

The prompt for Big Tent poetry this week is ... write a scary poem. In my current mood, scary is the economy. Thus, I went back in time to dig out the poem I wrote about the scariest natural phenomenon I have lived through... in the spooky Catskills, nearly 3 decades ago. A foul wind blew out our lantern as we were surveying the original "Valley of Sleepy Hollow" from a high promontory in the middle of the night. The wind, I recall, as vividly today as if it were yesterday, was cold, clammy, and smelled distinctly foul. It came from nowhere in the middle of an August camping trip. Scary. We hightailed it, kids and all, back to our campsite as soon as we could get the lantern relit. I wrote this poem in 2003.

See the creative poetry website, Big Tent Poetry, here:


Kelly said...

Wonderfully eerie!! A great way to preserve a memory.

Pam said...

Oh, I love it!!!!!! I agree with Kelly! Wow!

Serena said...

Love the poem and the spooky mood it evokes. Kudos on a terrific job!

Anonymous said...

You brought us right along with you.
"A ribbon of silver river..." great description.

Anonymous said...

You made it very scary at first, but I'm glad you gave us a happy ending. The language was very well chosen.

Debby said...

Wow! What an awesome thing to do, visit the Catskills in the middle of the night. I do so love Washington Irving. Let's do it again. Anyone up for it?

Anonymous said...


I, too appreciate your excellent
and evocative poem, which, if I
remember so correctly you already
shared with us at PS.

I will stop here, as I have to catch
the train to Fiery Spirit.