Hi Kate~ Reading & Writing
I found your poem at the "I Write in August-September-October
The poem speaks of 'Jack of the Lantern', whose light draws the spirits from the spiritual world through the thinning of the veil to our mortal world. I'm curious as to how much of this is creative licence and how much is based in myth. I am familiar with carved pumpkins, but I didn't know about a figure called 'Jack of the Lantern' (although that's obviously where the term 'jack o' lantern' comes from). I did know that the reason for the ghoulish costumes was because legend tells that the veil between the spiritual and mortal worlds is thinner on 31st October than any other night of the year, the day before All Hallow's Day. So I actually went and Googled it, to find out more. I love it when I read something on Writing.com and it inspires me to go researching!
So, after some research I conclude that the general belief is that the lit pumpkins ward off the spirits, rather than entice them nearer. So you have taken artistic licence with the myth and created something quite unique. That's really cool. I love it when I read something that's a bit different, especially on a topic that has been covered so many times.
Despite being a poem about spirits, ghouls and ghosts crossing into our world and walking among the mortal, the poem doesn't have a dark tone. Right at the beginning you mention that Jack is leaving his warm home, and we tend to associate warm homes with 'the good guys', rather than dark spectres.
You have used a regular rhythm of five syllables per lines. I didn't notice any missing or extra syllables - all looked perfect.
You use an abcb rhyming scheme, where every second line rhymes. Most of the rhymes work well, but I noticed a couple of lines that didn't work quite right for me. I acknowledge that they could be the result of my accent difference, so I merely point them out for you to double check:
Fourth stanza - flicker and shimmer
Seventh stanza - aglow and ghosts
Punctuation in poetry is widely held to be at the author's discretion. I did feel though that there were some parts of the poem that were unclear, and a little judicious punctuation would assist in making them clearer. For example:
Flames from his lantern
make shadows flicker
the dance of the dead
in shade and shimmer
You use enjambment to make 'Flames from his lantern make shadows flicker' read smoothly, but then there is no punctuation to alert us that 'the dance of the dead' does not also flow on using enjambment. If you used a comma or full stop, it would be much clearer. As it is the end of a line, I don't think a comma would alter the pace or rhythm too much.
Shadows float earthward,
breach the thinning veil,
cross the rainbow bridge
as but breath, so pale
I particularly liked the last line describing the spirits as being as insubstantial as breath. Fantastic. I also liked the reference to the rainbow bridge (another thing that keeps the tone light).
This poem was both unique and really enjoyable. I'm glad I had a chance to read it. Thanks for sharing!
My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!" .