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About this poet

John Kendrick Bangs was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1862. A humorist, essayist, and poet, Bangs is the author of Half-Hours with Jimmieboy (R. H. Russell & Son, 1893) and From Pillar to Post: Leaves from a Lecturer's Notebooks (Century Company, 1916), among many others. He died in 1922.

Hallowe'en

Bring forth the raisins and the nuts—
To-night All Hallows’ Spectre struts
            Along the moonlit way.
No time is this for tear or sob,
Or other woes our joys to rob,
But time for Pippin and for Bob,
            And Jack-o’-lantern gay.
 
Come forth, ye lass and trousered kid,
From prisoned mischief raise the lid,
            And lift it good and high.
Leave grave old Wisdom in the lurch,
Set folly on a lofty perch,
Nor fear the awesome rod of birch
            When dawn illumes the sky.
 
‘Tis night for revel, set apart
To reillume the darkened heart,
            And rout the hosts of Dole.
‘Tis night when Goblin, Elf, and Fay,
Come dancing in their best array
To prank and royster on the way,
            And ease the troubled soul.
 
The ghosts of all things, past parade,
Emerging from the mist and shade
            That hid them from our gaze,
And full of song and ringing mirth,
In one glad moment of rebirth,
Again they walk the ways of earth,
            As in the ancient days.
 
The beacon light shines on the hill,
The will-o’-wisps the forests fill
            With flashes filched from noon;
And witches on their broomsticks spry
Speed here and yonder in the sky,
And life their strident voices high
            Unto the Hunter’s moon.
 
The air resounds with tuneful notes
From myriads of straining throats,
            All hailing Folly Queen;
So join the swelling choral throng,
Forget your sorrow and your wrong,
In one glad hour of joyous song
            To honor Hallowe’en.
 

"Hallowe'en" was published in The Book of Hallowe’en (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1919). This poem is in the public domain.

"Hallowe'en" was published in The Book of Hallowe’en (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1919). This poem is in the public domain.

John Kendrick Bangs

John Kendrick Bangs

John Kendrick Bangs was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1862. A humorist, essayist, and poet, Bangs is the author of Half-Hours with Jimmieboy (R. H. Russell & Son, 1893) and From Pillar to Post: Leaves from a Lecturer's Notebooks (Century Company, 1916), among many others. He died in 1922.