All Hallows

Crossing the midlands –
the great bog bowl –
in autumn – (dull sky
stretching away,
grey road curving
beneath us, still
miles to go) –
we saw a priest,
(two altar boys
trailing behind) –
blessing the cemetery.

For a moment, we watched,

There were no pumpkins
or howling ghosts,
no painted skulls,
or dancing witches,
so it took us a moment
to remember the day
that was in it.

We drove on.

We left nothing,
just a wide sky,
and empty road,
a man with his hand raised,
and two boys,
silent behind him.

This is for Sabio’s Billy Collins exploration.
If you want further details, you should head over to his site and have a look.

I have tried to incorporate some “Billy Collins” traits. I think it’s accessible, and conversational, and easy to understand. I think it does end in a slightly mysterious way. It’s first person, observational. The title tells you what it is. I don’t think I’ve done the background/foreground thing that Sabio discusses. Anyhow, it’s there for feedback, and I think the plan is that I edit and improve according to the feedback I get. That’s quite exciting for me.

This is the update following Sabio’s comments.


We were driving across Ireland,
across the midlands,
where the land makes a great bowl
under the wide sky,
a bog bowl.

There was nothing much to see,
the brown land,
grey sky, and greyer road.

Coming round a bend, we saw
a priest, blessing the graves
in a small cemetery.
Two altar boys stood back a little,
looking cold and serious.

For a moment we couldn’t work it out,
and then remembered that we had left the city
draped in fake cobwebs,
plump pumpkins grinning on every porch,
plastic skulls on gate posts,
bats stuck flat on front room windows.

“All Hallows”, we said,
remembering the day that was in it,
as they say,

and then swept on, round the curve,
leaving them behind,
two boys,
a man with hand upraised,
under an empty sky.