Posts Tagged ‘carved pumpkins’

Pumpkin Prize

Posted: October 18, 2021 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , ,
       Pumpkin Prize
       By David Allen

I’m a bumpkin for pumpkins
pies, bread, and pudding,
and spice in my coffee
on cool Autumn morns.

As I drive around town
I see them on stoops, 
stairs, and porches;
gutted and carved
in Halloween screams.

I wonder if any of the gourd artists   
know the legend of Jack O’Lantern,
the Irish drunkard and fast-talking conman
who scammed Satan during a drinking game
into freeing him from Hades.

The centuries-old myth
claims Jack didn’t realize
the Pearly Gates were also
locked for him and, forlorn,
he begged Satan to take him back.

Satan refused. 
But, admiring Jack’s evil,
presented him an ember
to place inside a hollowed-out pumpkin.

A pumpkin prize 
to light Jack’s endless trek
through the netherworld.


By David Allen

For me, the scariest
Part of Halloween
Comes in mid-September
When the stores start selling
Candy and costumes
And tombstones start cropping
Up on my neighbors’ lawns.
It’s like the country’s gone ghoulish
In a big way.
It wasn’t like this when I was young.
The earliest the carved pumpkins
Showed up on doorsteps
Was two weeks in advance.
There were no ghosts and bats
Swinging from tree limbs.
The scariest decoration I remember
Was a huge stringy spiderweb
Outside the housing project’s
Community Center the night
Of the Halloween Party,
Where a plastic spider might be floating
In the pail where we bobbed for apples.
The night before Halloween
– Mischief Night –
Now, that was scary for the residents of
Our suburban town;
Eggs smashed on car windows,
Blazing dog poop bags on doorsteps,
Nair cream in water balloons
But nothing back then came as close
As the body I saw swinging from a tree
Last night over on the next block,
Or the stuffed Grim Reaper
Holding a bloody head and standing
Next to a neighbor’s garage.
I swear, these scenes are more
Intricate than those Christmas displays
That show up the first week of November.

And, yeah, that scares me, too.


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