The Calling by Frank Coffman

(a Tarda*)

“The sun has fallen from the dome

Of  Sky. And now is Samhain come.

Arise my minions! You are free

To roam this realm. Come! Come with me!

About this wide world you can play

Until the dusk of All Saint’s Day.

I give command ye do thy worst

To sate thine Evil pent-up thirst.

‘Tis time to fill their lives with dread

This night the living meet the dead.”

And now, from nether regions dire,

From cosmic chaos and Hell’s Fire,

From gaping maw the Dark exudes,

And into Earth’s demesne intrudes:

Witches and warlocks, goblins grim;

Demons and vampires called by him;

Eldritch entities, ghosts and ghouls;

Were-things and a wight that drools

Blackened blood—all find their way

To plague this world on Samhain day.

For now the gate is open wide

Until the morrow’s eventide.

Especially beware the Dark.

The worlds commingle. Hear them? Hark!

Yes, they’re abroad across the land;

Called by the Evil One’s command.

Now the tenuous veil is rent,

Fell fiends fly forth with foul intent.

‘Tis now the advent of Samhain—

You may see things best left unseen.

(*The Tarda (“evening” in Catalan—literally “late”)—is an INVENTED form, intended to be the antithesis of the Occitan Alba or “Dawn Song,” The Alba is usually not a poem celebrating dawn, but rather, a poem in which lovers (often illicit) are forced to part because the day is dawning. The guaita (“guard/sentry”) is often a character, waking the lovers, telling them they must part. As dusk is the antithesis of dawn, so the Tarda is the antithesis of the Alba. Here the Dark One calls his minions to awaken and go forth.)

Frank Coffman is a retired professor of college English, creative writing, and journalism. He has published speculative poetry and fiction in a variety of magazines and anthologies, both in print and online. A member of both the Horror Writers Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, he also founded and moderates the Weird Poets Society Facebook group. His chapbook, This Ae Nighte, Every Nighte and Alle: 33 Poems of the Weird, Horrific, and Supernatural, was released in July. A large collection (280 pp.) of his poetry will be published in early 2019. He selected, edited, introduced, and did commentary for his Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems.

Published 10/31/18