Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Who goes howling without a key -
a plot, a scheme, a mystery?
Knots are tied and knots unraveled
along a road that’s highly traveled,
winding in some mysterious way,
puzzling pedestrians night and day,
while water cries and wind speaks
and frost makes roses of our cheeks.
And who’s the potter and who’s the pot?
And which is the vessel and which is not?
For these queries, avow – avow!
The answers are being written now
on onionskin paper, smooth and light -
on sleeveless arms, ghostly white -
on leaves rustling on far away trees -
on hills and in hollows, such as these.


joaquin carvel said...

i love this poem. i love everything about it. it sings and winds and winks and begs to be read out loud. and it's impossible to read it without smiling. i love the title and craftiness and mystery and joy. did i mention that i love this poem?

Karen said...

I love this, Kay. It is the perfect Halloween poem. I see that Joaquin has already articulated my reasons for loving it, so just let me say again, I think this is fantasmagorically wonderifous!

Anonymous said...

I was really captivated by the rhyming couplets here. The sentences were so rich that the rhymes were almost like comfortable punctuation completing the thoughts.

trooping with crows said...

I agree with all the above!

This is like a poem that your teacher always read around Halloween when you were in grade school. You remember some of the lines from time to time, then suddenly, you discover it in a strange little book in a used book shop.
I really loved this so much (of course) It really does have that old world feel to it. Totally a fun read. Too many great lines to mention in this comment section (Talk to you about it tomorrow!)
Hope the poetry/art show went well. Wish I could've gone...
Love, Merissa

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin, thank you for loving this poem. I always look to your work for inspiration when writing rhyming verse. So, your glowing review means a great deal to me. :D

Karen, wow...fantasmagorically wonderifous! Can I use that quote to put on the back jacket cover of my poetry book? (When I get one) Many, many thanks, dear friend. ;)

Jason, I really do enjoy writing rhyming poetry - and I love to read and/or recite verses that rhyme. I always appreciate your perceptiveness and compliments. :)

Merissa, I was hoping to capture the spirit of the old poems here, the ones we used to read at certain times of the year...thanks for picking up on that. And...I do hope, that maybe one day, someone in a little Curiosity shop - will pick up an old tome of collected works and find this poem on page 27. The poetry/art show was quite nice! I have pictures.
Looking forward to seeing you today at your art show! love...

Okie Prof said...


Such provoking questions. Have you read Pablo Neruda's Book of questions?

Thanks especially for these gifts:
"Who goes howling without a key -
a plot, a scheme, a mystery?"
"And who’s the potter and who’s the pot?"
"The answers are being written now
on onionskin paper, smooth and light -
on sleeveless arms, ghostly white -
on leaves rustling on far away trees"

You inspire ...

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Terry, No, I haven't read Neruda's Book of Questions, but really sounds interesting. I should read more of his work. I am well aware of him, but have not read many of his poems, really. Thanks a bunch for the great comment. Always great to have you stop in here. What watercolors are you working on?

Rick said...

Neruda has nothing on you, K. He's good and well known, You're much better, but a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Julie said...

Oooooooh! I agree that this one should be read in a classroom. Here's yet another person saying that she loves your poem, Kaye. What I enjoy the most is how you give it a "writerly" twist.

"The answers are being written now
on onionskin paper, smooth and light -
on sleeveless arms, ghostly white –".

So true! Awesome work, and it puts me in the mood for this weekend:) I hope yours is a great one.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick thanks for that huge ego boost...hahaa. (Your money will arrive soon) Seriously, that is such a nice compliment.

Julie - I appreciate your comment. Thank you! Have a scary Halloween night! ( Not too scary)

Sarah Hina said...

Fantastic, Kay. I've read this poem many times now, and the echoes of your delightful rhymes are still bouncing around in my head, and making me want to take to those "hills and hollows." What a rousing call for those who must celebrate the season and this beautiful, mysterious world around us.

The descriptions in those last five lines, especially, make me a little slack-jawed with admiration. "onionskin paper"..."sleveless arms, ghostly white"..."leaves rustling on far away trees.", my friend, are wonderifous. :-)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sarah, many thanks for all the great remarks! Glad you liked my little rhyme. I always get so nostalgic during this time - the recollections of my childhood Halloweens and those of my children's. On Halloween night, I still get a special feeling of merriment and mystery! Now, I am sharing in that with my grandson. :) He's three and will be dressing as T-Rex tomorrow night. :O Always so good to have you here and to read your insightful reflections!