Ridiculous Headline of the Week
Shoegaze and Not-Shoegaze

A Halloween Poem

The Free Press, the new online news site founded by New York Times escapee Bari Weiss, has a weekly feature in which the English writer Douglas Murray offers one of his favorite poems. It's called "Things Worth Remembering," which, if I remember the original announcement correctly, means that these are poems he liked enough to memorize. If he really has them all by heart, that's impressive, though I wouldn't hold him to it. 

This week's poem is one by Thomas Hardy that I hadn't encountered previously; my acquaintance with Hardy doesn't go beyond a small range of anthology pieces. It's called "The Choirmaster's Burial." I'm not sure that link will work. I'm a subscriber and that's the URL I get when I click on the "Share" button for the post. If it doesn't work, I'm sure you can easily find the poem elsewhere. 

(I don't understand the relatively recent American fixation on Halloween.)


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I couldn't read the whole article, but I could hear Murray read (or recite?) the poem, which is new to me as well. Thank you!
And my neighbours, whose Halloween display I mentioned last year, this year added to their stock of motion-activated decorations. Passers-by, and we when we opened a car door on that side of the driveway, were accosted by sounds from a ukelele-playing skeleton, a witch, and a grave robber. To their credit, they noticed that my three-year-old grandson was scared, and turned them all off when he was around.

That’s nice of them. I’m sure there’s no harm in what they’re doing, but I don’t get it.

And by the way what sound does the grave robber make? Maybe sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper”?

He had a variety of speeches, which to be honest I didn't listen to more than I had to. I remember one in which he planned to snack on what he dug up.

I don't get it either, especially when the gruesome stuff is mixed in with cheerful scarecrows and cartoon cats.

It finally occurred to me to do a search for "why do people like halloween so much." The results were not especially enlightening. Most of them were variants on "it's fun to be scared," with more and less scientific explanations of that phenomenon. This one is a little more interesting, asking why Halloween is so popular among adults, but it's focused on young adults. The people I know who are *really* into it are older than that, maybe 45-60.


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