Friday, October 29, 2010


Come with me All Hallow's night/ We'll frighten everyone in sight/ Such pranks for once, are justified/ And fun and frolic amplified.
~19th century Halloween postcard

I am inordinately fond of costumes and a big fan of tea. It occurred to me recently that it would be fun to open a tea and pastry shop, with books somehow involved, and offer free tea to anyone to comes wearing a costume. At any time of year. I might have a strange clientele, but they'd be fun.

Halloween is not known as a tea-drinking holiday, but costumes, it's got. And poetry. Here's one from Emily D:

One Need Not Be a Chamber to Be Haunted
by Emily Dickinson

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

Far safer, of a midnight meeting
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one's own self encounter
In lonesome place.

Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror's least.

The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O'erlooking a superior spectre
More near.


And a haunted poem from the author of Trout Fishing in America:

Boo Forever
by Richard Brautigan

Spinning like a ghost
on the bottom of a
I'm haunted by all
the space that I
will live without


* Poems Can Be Creepy (a selection of Halloween poems for the classroom) by Susan Hutton
Claw by Roger Xavier

* Some spooky, haunted, bony old posts of mine

Toby is our Poetry Friday host this week at The Writer's Armchair.


Toby Speed said...

That brief Brautigan poem is powerful, isn't it? Gave me the chills. Thanks for your selections today, Tabatha. (p.s. I'm a tea-lover, too!)

david elzey said...

i'm really going to have to dig up and revisit the brautigan books. he's popped up a few times recently and i'm finding it all fresh.

nice pairing with dickenson as well. thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I love the parallel reading you provide here. You place the poets in conversation with each other.

(Brautigan was one of my poetry teachers. I love meeting him still, in the wild, in his poems.)

laurasalas said...

Wow, I love the Dickinson, especially

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one's own self encounter
In lonesome place.


And the Brautigan is, well, haunting, for sure. I must find some more of his work.

Also, off-topic, I listened to that playlist TWICE yesterday while working. Enjoyed the Huapango (sp? don't have it in front of me) the most, though it was all background music (in the sense that it was literally in the background and in the sense that I don't think I could just sit and listen to it with my full attention). Still, I sometimes have the tv on for brainless white noise, and classical music would probably be a better choice. I was so into my writing I didn't even really hear the music much, at least not consciously.

I wonder if Pandora does classical. Maybe I could choose one of the few classical pieces I know I like and create a station for it, so I could discover other classical pieces I like, too.

Thanks for challenging me to try this!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. I would come to your shop and in costume. Free tea?! I'm there.

I don't know this Dickinson poem, but I've been reading her complete works. This one is lovely in its philosophy. Thanks very much for sharing.

Tabatha said...

I would also give free pastries to people who recite poems in my shop, so Laura, you could have a pastry with your tea! In fact, free tea for everyone who comments on my blog! (I never said I would be a very good business owner...) Blythe, how interesting that he was your teacher!! Dave and Toby, always good to hear from you! And Laura, I should totally try that Pandora classical thing. Great idea.

M Pax said...

A tea shop, books, costumes and poetry. Ah, what a lovely oasis.

Unknown said...

Gosh, I thought I'd read all of Dickinson but I've never seen that one before.

"The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place." ----WOW. How does she do it? So compact, so powerful, so true?

Thanks, Tabatha.

Mary Lee said...

I'll come for tea and books, but leave the costumes to someone else!

This Emily Dickinson is new to me, too. "Ourself, behind ourself concealed..." Yeah. I've got one of those! And she can be scary!!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Let us host a poets-in-costume-reciting-over-tea-and-pastries salon! I call reciting the Emily Dickinson poem which, although it doesn't surprise me at all thinking about it,was a brand new, very modern Emily experience.

My 9th grade English teacher (best beloved)gave me In Watermelon Sugar as a 14th birthday present, and I think of it as an important influence--but reading a summary of the plot it seems unfamiliar. Perhaps the concepts were beyond me but the language sank in...

laurasalas said...

Oh, I want to come to this. Food, drink, poetry, friends. What else do we need?

And this Dickinson poem has been popping into my mind repeatedly over the past 24 hours. And I keep humming Billy Joel's The Stranger, which is sort of on the same theme:

Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and show ourselves
When everyone has gone
Some are satin, some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They're the faces of the stranger
But we love to try them on

That song has a great, haunty whistling opening, too, which would be super intro music for this Dickinson.

Harry said...

What a wonderful idea about the tea/books/costumes! I would only add art on the walls (from your Art blog) and music (from your playlist).

Oh, and very comfortable chairs.

Tabatha said...

How lovely to have a teacher who gives you books for your birthday, Heidi! I know that song, Laura -- cool connection to the poem. Good idea about art and music, Harry!

I have a funny costume for tomorrow. Maybe I'll post a picture. (The only photo of me on the blog as of now is here: