Halloween (October 1977)

When I was nine years old, my class was assigned to make cards for our parents for Halloween. (Looking back, I recall that my fourth grade teacher was always looking for “down time.” We watched an educational film every. single. day. She partnered with another teacher, and we’d alternate which students went to the other teacher’s classroom. That allowed them to show a double feature — I’m assuming the budget allowed each teacher to have one film a day.)

For some reason, I decided to compose a poem in mine. It wasn’t assigned, we had never written poetry in class before, and I really have no idea what inspired me to do so. I must have read some poetry in children’s books, because at least I had the idea that it “must” rhyme and that the syllables had to match. (I don’t know if I even knew what a syllable was then. Probably. But really, I just felt in needed a cadence and rhythm.

I chose rhyming couplets, and I’m quite proud of the fact that I unintentionally (subconsciously) had each couplet build, with one more syllable that the last: four syllables for the first couplet, five for the next, then six, seven, and finally eight. It was clever enough that my Mom first thought I had copied it from a book.

The next year, when I was 10, the poem was published by The Saturday Evening Post in a collection of poems by children. My misspellings were corrected (I originally wrote souring instead of soaring, and mourning instead of morning — though that one has a sort of a double entendre to it.)

Here, then, is the very first poem I ever wrote:


October 31, 1977

Halloween night
Witches delight.
Halloween morning
Witches go soaring.
Back to the haunted house
Too scary for a mouse.
Where they think about the past
And all the spells they have cast.
And wait until next Halloween
To listen to the children scream.

By K. C. Goebel

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