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Another Haibun Monday arrives, poets! I am Frank Tassone, your host, and today, let’s celebrate the spirit of Halloween by facing its heart:


The ancient Celts recognized the transitions of light that occurred during this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. The days grow noticeably shorter. As peak foliage passes, leaves fall, leaving naked boughs and spindly branches like arboreal skeletons across the landscape.

Imagine walking through such a forest, with daylight fading, and darkness creeping in all around you. Imagine only the flickering light of a torch, or worse, a candle, as the sole illumination through which you can carry on.

Small wonder, then, that the Celts believed this time of year to be the one where the veil between living and dead was at its thinnest. Samhain, their celebration of the new year, was one where they placated their departed with feasts in halls that remained locked until dawn.

Now, we can scoff at the anxiety of ancient people. But we have our own fears, don’t we? Whether personal, communal, or societal: don’t we still experience the emotion that races our hearts, shortens our breath, leaves that trickle of sweat or that shiver down our spine?

Isn’t fear what still stirs us about this coming holiday?  It certainly stirs up some poetry:


Ciaran Carson – 1948-2019

I fear the vast dimensions of eternity.

I fear the gap between the platform and the train.

I fear the onset of a murderous campaign.

I fear the palpitations caused by too much tea.

I fear the drawn pistol of a rapparee.

I fear the books will not survive the acid rain.

I fear the ruler and the blackboard and the cane.

I fear the Jabberwock, whatever it might be.

I fear the bad decisions of a referee.

I fear the only recourse is to plead insane.

I fear the implications of a lawyer’s fee.

I fear the gremlins that have colonized my brain.

I fear to read the small print of the guarantee. And what else do I fear? Let me begin again.

From Selected Poems by Ciaran Carson, published by Wake Forest University Press. Copyright © 2001 by Ciaran Carson. 

Storm Fear

Robert Frost – 1874-1963

When the wind works against us in the dark,
And pelts the snow
The lower chamber window on the east,
And whispers with a sort of stifled bark,
The beast,
‘Come out! Come out!’—
It costs no inward struggle not to go,
Ah, no!
I count our strength,
Two and a child,
Those of us not asleep subdued to mark
How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length,—
How drifts are piled,
Dooryard and road ungraded,
Till even the comforting barn grows far away
And my heart owns a doubt
Whether ’tis in us to arise with day
And save ourselves unaided.

This poem is in the public domain.

ghazal for fear

by Nadia Mota

what’s the name for a fear of death that’s not your own? my father goes to the back door
and grabs for his keys, but i reach them first. i drive him where he wants to go in fear

of police cars, in fear of my father’s fear of police cars, even though he’d never tell me
that his body rejects the sound of sirens like a foreign organ, that the human body fears

out of instinct what may harm it. once, he sat in the passenger’s seat and a cop asked for
his ID first. once i heard that cuban citizens can be charged for “dangerousness,” for fear

that they would possibly commit a crime. “preventative measures.” sometimes existence
can feel like resisting an arrest. sometimes the worst crimes are legal, and our fearlies bloody on the pavement. my father’s eyes shift to the rearview mirror. be cautious,
he tells me. he can’t afford not to be. we drive with our ears ringing. deafening, his fear.

University of Michigan (undergraduate) 
Academy of American Poets Prize, 2019

Let’s feel the spooky sensation of this coming Halloween/Samhain! Let’s celebrate that emotion of dread. Let’s write our haibun that states or references fear.

New to Haibun? Write a paragraph or more of prose, or prose poetry, then follow it with a haiku—one that includes a season word, and juxtaposes two disparate images that, when paired, give us that “aha!” experience.

New to dVerse? Here’s what you do:

  • Write a haibun that alludes to fear.
  • Post it on your personal site/blog
  • Include a link back to dVerse in your post.
  • Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky
  • Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
  • Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • Have fun!