A Walk in the Cemetery by Moonlight

A celebration before winter darkness,
fingering crumbled earth with brightness,

moonlight creeps through autumn turbulence
to gild gravestones hunkered in silence.

Pale breath of lunar light tongues dust
among tattered leaves now turned to rust

and scattered on well-trodden stones,
traces epitaphs and seeks out bones,

meagre offerings for a midnight repast
before the cold season’s hollow fast.   

Something else stalks the cemetery,
among grey tombs and statuary –

it has disturbed the yew and willow,
left skeleton bundles wrapped in shadow

of crows and fieldmice in its famished wake,
hunting for more substantial flesh to take.

To walk in a graveyard is to wander in a mix
of tended and untended, unspoken conflicts

of the living and the dead, between lych gate
and church porch, where the undead wait.  

Kim M. Russell, 26th October 2020

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: A Hallowed Moondance, also linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

For this week’s earthweal challenge the links will stay open through Halloween and Samhain. Brendan has shared a comprehensive, informational, eerie essay on Halloween, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

He says that this Halloween we will be treated to a ‘blue’ moon, the second full moon of the month; according to the Farmer’s Almanac,  As this will be a five-times-a-century event, he invites us to celebrate this waxing old light by going merrily into the dark and dancing in the hallowed moonlight.

Brendan suggests all sorts of inroads and adventures that we can take on this challenge: our own stories of descent into darkness and return; moonshine and dark brightness; encounters with ghosts; classical remakes of the myths; favourite folktales; and even turning present politics into an All-Hallows fright feast.

48 thoughts on “A Walk in the Cemetery by Moonlight

      1. It’s ages since I visited Hunstanton. I fancy Felbrigg or Horsey next weekend – nicely atmospheric for Halloween. I wonder if Gressenhall is having a ghost hunt this year.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful shriek of cold moonlight here! The poem’s footsteps resound so archly in this silence. Final couplet is pure killer delight. Two highfives and twenty goosebumps. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a truly frightful walk through a moonlit graveyard, Kim: ‘Something else stalks the cemetery,’ – it’s the not knowing what, exactly, that creates the most fear, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So beautifully and hauntingly dark. This is apt for Halloween, of course. I really liked these descriptions:

    “and scattered on well-trodden stones,
    traces epitaphs and seeks out bones”

    They are mesmerizing and immersing. Very remarkable writing here with a brilliant use of rhyme.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Lucy. I’m so behind with reading and comment after the live open mic earlier and I’m too tired to continue, so I’ll have to finish in the morning. I was hoping to see you there – maybe next time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bjorn. We are expecting more rain over the weekend, so I will probably stay indoors. It’s got chilly here too. When we had a dog I used to walk him through the local graveyard in the moonlight.

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  4. This is incredibly scrumptious and spooky, Kim 😀 especially love; “Something else stalks the cemetery,
    among grey tombs and statuary – it has disturbed the yew and willow.” It was wonderful to see and hear you at the Live event. 💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sanaa! I’m sorry I was late and missed your reading, but I got confused with all the emails and picked the wrong link, as well as getting confused with the time after the clocks went back last week. :0

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  5. Walk through a graveyard? What?!? Are you CRAZY?? Walk??? No.
    In fact, I ain’t even goin INTO any stinkin graveyard. Not while I’m still upright, anyway.

    Nice work KR & I enjoyed the audible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Maybe I am crazy, Ron, but I find graveyards fascinating. One of my favourite places in London is Highgate Cemetery. Even the little graveyard at our village church is interesting, with some really old gravestones and a couple of tombs. A grave with a rusty cross was the inspiration for a poem.

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  6. Like the bit of Gaelic, back there in the other comments. Kim. This is such a skillful poem, Kim. All that rhyme and rhythm. I particularly like that “mix” and “conflicts” rhyme. JIM

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your contemplation of the moon as it lightly moves across the landscape of fields trees and leaves and ends up in the cemetery licking the stones looking for bones…. Very great images Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. After 2 months of trying to sort it out, including yesterday’s sound check, my choices are between 1) hearing others and being heard (with sporadic, ongoing freezes) through the phone or 2) seeing and hearing others (for the most part) and being seen and not heard 😦 My “bandwidth” through satellite internet and mobile isn’t up to the task of both. I am considering driving to one of these drive-thru restaurants with free wi-fi next month to see if it might work.

        Liked by 1 person

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