Based on this undated painting from Scotland by an anonymous artist, I designed a poem around the interesting imagery, just in time for the season of Halloween.

I hope you like the tone and style of this piece.



The masque for Halloween
rings in a crucible for stereotypes,
the madness and the uncoordinated dance
just as splendid for the occassion
as the prosthetic noses
and pointed hats.

An inner voice still quivers with the words,
‘But is this cause for celebration,
all ‘ye noblewomen?’
seeing your own kindred
deformed in stature and looks,
made disgusting and ugly,
out on the cold stage,
twitching their lashes and body language,
with the natural lighting from candles and oil lamps quite the dampener already.
Like catching Salem in its heyday,
before the rebels were pronounced as witches.

The masks, the crypts and the holding up of bronzed skulls,
like Hamlet in his deadpan disposition,
does the aura no great novelty either.

Just then,
the young lady at the center of the performance
starts levitating
and secrets tumble out of her mouth
along with a sea of blood
and everybody calls her possessed,
affected by her afflictions
of make-believe
and vulnerable enough to give in
to the bold spectacle of misery
expected out of this nightly ritual.

And then the onlookers start dropping out of their seats,
passing out into some other world
and a banshee wail unites the others
until wave upon wave rises,
shadows of apparitions exiting from the window
and the room collapses in mid-dream.

The writer of this horror story
then wakes up with a start,
catches a breath
and decides to abandon the misogyny of the genre for another day.
Or to never return to the distortion of fantasy leveled at the subconscious.

Note: BIBHATSA refers to the disgusting and fearsome humour in Indian aesthetics.


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