Category Archives: Spooky Samhain Poetry

Spooky Samhain Poetry

Merry Meet All,

Samhain would not be complete without a round of poems that fire our imaginations and conjure images of spooks and spectres. The poetry I like is of a different time. These poems are famous and stand the test of time. Let’s join in and enjoy these spooky poems. Make a hot cup of cider, put on warm wool socks, curl up, and enjoy this treat.

My favorite poem is The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service. A chill crawls up my spine when I hear my grandmother read this poem with her thick Scottish accent. She does the poem justice.

The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold. The
Arctic trails have their own queer tales that would make your blood run cold. The
Northern Lights have seen queer sights but the queerest they ever did see Was that
night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee where the cotton blooms and blows Why he
left his house in the south to roam round the Pole, God only knows. He was always
cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell Though he’d often say in
his homely way that he’d sooner live in Hell.

On a Christmas day we were mushing our way over the Dawson Trail Talk of your
cold through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail! If our eyes we’d close then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see It wasn’t much fun but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow And the
dogs were fed and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe He turned to me and
“Cap” says he “I’ll cash in this trip I guess and if I do, I’m asking that you won’t
refuse my last request.”

Well he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no then he says with a sort of moan “It’s
the cursed cold and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone, Yet tain’t being dead-it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains So I want you to swear that foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed so I swore I would not fail And we started on at the streak of dawn but God he looked ghastly pale He crouched on the sleigh and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee. And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried home, horror-driven With a
corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given; It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say “You may tax your brawn and brains, But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate these last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code. In the days to come, though my lips were dumb in my heart how I cursed that load! In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring, Howled out their woes to the homeless snows- Oh God, how I loathed the thing!

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow; And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low. The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in; And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came at last to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay; It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the Alice May. And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I thought of my frozen chum; Then “Here”, said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum!”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor and I lit the boiler fire; Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher; The flames just soared, and the furnace roared such a blaze you seldom see, And I borrowed a hole in the glowing
coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so: And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow, It was icy cold, but the hot
sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why; And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear; But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near; I was sick with dread, but I bravely said, “I’ll just take a peek inside. I guess he’s cooked and it’s time I looked.” Then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar; And he
wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said, “Please close that door. It’s fine in here but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm– Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic Trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge I cremated Sam McGee.

“MacBeth” William Shakespeare

Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

From an early nineteenth-century postcard

May every trick
That you try to-night
Foretell a future
Of true delight.

Samhain Benediction

It is time to bid farewell
As this Samhain passes slowly
Soon the dawning will embrace us
And the sunset portal close
Until the turning of the year
We must part for just a while
Yet I know there is no ending
And the golden thread spins outward
To that place where you are going
Until I travel there to meet you
Or you return upon the autumn
On that sacred night of Spirits
When we shall meet again.
Blessed Be
– David Norris

Lady Spiderwitch

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