Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls' Day

Today is All Souls' Day the day we traditionally visited churches and graveyards to pray for the dead and gain indulgences which shortened their time in Purgatory.

The poem that comes to my mind today is Yeats' All Souls’ Night - the first verse:

Midnight has come, and the great Christ Church Bell
And many a lesser bell sound through the room;

And it is All Souls’ Night,

And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel
Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come;

For it is a ghost’s right,

His element is so fine

Being sharpened by his death,

To drink from the wine-breath

While our gross palates drink from the whole wine.

Rowan Gillespie's statue (Is it a sculpture or a statue or both?) of Yeats in Sligo on the right.

Another poem, All Souls by Edith Wharton here and another, All Souls' Day by Hermann von Gilm here.

There is also the classic Irish play All Soul's Night by Joseph Tomelty.

But when exactly is All Soul's Night? Is it tonight or last night? I often have the same problem with Christmas Night, is it the night before or after Christmas Day. If the Day is 24 hrs then the night of each day starts at 12 midnight on that date. OK? So last night was All Soul's Night. But what about Hallowe'en? Isn't that regarded as All Soul's Night also in the sense of ghosts being abroad. Be careful out there, language is waiting to cause you trouble.

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