Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky Poetry Corner

Happy Halloween, kids.

I've lost the battle, yet again, about how our merry little band is celebrating.

My plan was to dress in my favorite costume (a Cloak of Indifference), sit on the couch and stream old episodes of Acrylic Intervention with Clara Parkes on Netflix. (The one where she gets knifed at the Methodist church bazaar while counseling the lady who can't stop knitting toilet roll covers is scary enough for two Halloweens.)

In the event, I was outvoted 231 to 1 (stupid traitor sock yarn colony) in favor of Dolores's plan that we make an appearance at the Bottom Dollar Lounge's "Haunted and Humpy" party in a group costume.

It could be worse. The first idea on the whiteboard was that we all dress as the Human Centipede, with Dolores in front. After much spirited debate, she's going as Slutty Barbara Walker and the rest of us are going to be swatches and top-down sweaters.

I'm still finishing my Slutty Baby Cable costume, so I hope you won't mind re-visiting an Occasional Piece I wrote several Halloweens ago but which has never actually appeared on the blog. It's an homage to one of the great American masters of horror literature, and was created for Brenda Dayne's Cast On podcast; if you'd rather listen than read, it's available (with pipe organ accompaniment) in her archives.

And yes–I know Slutty Baby Cable is in questionable taste, but my first choice (Slutty Moss Stitch) seemed way too obvious.

Anyway, here's the poem.

Dolores as The Romney, 2006

The Romney

by Franklin Habit, d'aprés E. A. Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I knitted, weak and weary,
On a lumpy Aran sweater that was truly quite a bore,
While I cabled, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping–
As of hoofbeats gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis the maintenance man,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door.
Only this–and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember I was knitting for December
For a boyfriend who stretched six feet from his temples to the floor.
Eagerly I wished it finished, yet the skeins were undiminished–
Though I knit ’til I was crippled and the sweater was a bore–
Though that lumpy Aran sweater was a never-ending bore.
So I sighed–and knit some more.

When at last the row at last had ended and the stitches dropped were mended,
“Sir,” I said, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore.
But the fact is, I was counting and my agitation mounting
When so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you.”–here, I opened wide the door;
Darkness there–and nothing more.

As I stood upon the doorstep, suddenly I heard a sure step,
And in walked a fluffy Romney ewe I’d never seen before.
Without a word or nod, across the welcome mat she trod
And lighting up a Camel cigarette, she perched beside the door–
Perched beside the bust of Barbara Walker near my chamber door;
Perched, and smoked–and nothing more.

Then, quoth the Romney, “Knit some more.”

Much I marveled this unruly sheep to hear command so truly
In my native tongue an order rendered in a tone so sure.
“Tell me, madam,” I addressed her, “Why am I the one you pester?
Why not Mabel, Midge, or Esther?” Questions did not interest her.
She just rolled her eyes and flicked some dying ashes to the floor.

Quoth the Romney, “Knit some more.”

And the Romney, sitting primly in the hallway, smoking grimly,
Those words only ever said, and those words only–nothing more.
So, into my armchair sinking, I resumed my fruitless tinking,
Working on the Aran sweater ’til my fingers all were sore.

And the sheep said, “Knit some more.”

And that Romney, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
Near the bust of Barbara Walker just inside my chamber door.
And she smokes, and drinks, and titters while I try to knit with jitters
On the lumpy Aran sweater that is as it was before.
Though Decembers pass away upon this sweater, every day,
I shall be knitting–evermore.


Anonymous said...

Best Poe parody ever. Thanks for setting the Halloween mood so appropriately for your devoted readers (you know your crowd).
-- Gretchen

Seanna Lea said...

I cannot even picture a slutty Barbara Walker. Surely a defect of my imagination.

dale-harriet said...

Dear Franklin, how many ways do I love thee? Plenty, I can tell you. That was a good trick, and I'm not like to get a better treat, either.
(Wicked, wicked boy - and I mean this in the most loving way!)

Anonymous said...

Go as a top-down sweater? No-brainer! You can wear your Vetur, which has been finished for weeks, right? The purple is outstanding.

Cheryl S. said...

Love it! Thank you.

Diane said...

Nice treat!

WonderMike said...

Bloody genius, you are!

Eileen said...

Volume 2? I imagine Dolores would prefer lace to double-knitting for this costume...

roxie said...

Standing ovation!! I can just imagine Vincent Price reciting this with organ background - pull out the eerie, creepy and spine-tingling stops.

Leigh said...


Rabbitch said...

I loved this the first time I heard it, and love it still. You're brilliant.

terri said...


kathy b said...

awe..knit on Franlklin....I love the Purling Poe Poem

Anonymous said...

eeee, i surely have a GLEE! (a glee! a glee! forevermore?) <3 <3 <3

happiest of halloweens!

Anonymous said...

If I wasn't convinced before, I can no longer escape the conclusion that, Franklin, you are a freaking genius! Demeure comme tu es - ne change jamais!

Jeanne said...

This is so brilliantly done that I am inspired to go read Poe's original. Perfect for this Halloween night when I am home alone.

Gail said...

Perhaps it needs to accompany Dolores on Gericault's Raft of the Medusa or a Fuseli painting?

(and no, I don't know what made me think of that, but I doubt Dolores would pose for Rosetti or Leighton.

Happy Halloween
and as ever, thanks for the chuckle, with homage to Poe!

Beth said...

Needs a bit of blocking, but on the whole, it's excellent. I was actually reading it out loud to myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks!

hilly said...

OH MY GOD!! That is too too wonderful! It's promply being forwarded to all the knitters I know!

Knitspingirl said...

Brilliant! Simply brilliant! My favorite Poe poem has just been bettered!

Benita said...

Holy Freaking Mackeral! That's brilliant! My dad introduced me to Poe when I was about 8 and I swear that was spot on for the rhythm. Bravo!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love this - from a woman who spent her angsty teen years memorizing "The Raven". Thank you, Franklin! Off to spread the word!

Anonymous said...

if you go as a top down sweater, and youve only knit the neck, is the rest of you naked? just wondering...

i'm gonna hand out candy in my bathrobe with my vicious dog...thats scary enough for the whole neighborhood.

Cheryl said...

best end of Halloween I could have asked for...

Anonymous, too said...

Quoth the audience, "More, More More!" (Billy-Idol-style Rebel Yell optional.)

However, I would have thought you'd knit a Slutty Baby Surprise Jacket for your costume, maybe from strips of black leather. It would have went well with your motorcycle boots.

Susan H said...

Fantasmagorical! Thanks for a great Halloween ending.

Emm said...

Here alone, some comfort needing, sat I chortling while reading!
Darling Franklin, je t'adore!

Anonymous said...

I love you. Seriously. Love. You're incredible.

Lynda the Guppy
aka FishWithSticks

Anonymous said...


Lauren said...


I'm tired and Halloween'd out, but thank you for making my day. Or at least my morning, you know, it's still early.


Healthy Traveler ® said...

You have an incredible gift with a pen!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this immensely! Very well done.

Anonymous said...

Much applause!

=Tamar said...

Laughing out loud, literally.

Gail (nosenabook) said...

What memories the poetry brings back! I think this was the first time I heard of Franklin, while listening to Brenda on my new iPod.

Amanda said...

Brilliant! That was so, so much fun. If I could, I would reach through the internet and hand you a beer

Anonymous said...

Dude, that's creepy...

Sara said...

Ah, I remember it well. Thanks for reminding me of that haunting, haunting Poe-m.

ML said...

Franklin, your creativity amazes me. Bravo! An accent grave would have been so appropriate for a Halloween piece. (d'après--oops.) A little holiday-themed blog entry scavenger hunt? You think of everything.

ellen in indy said...

a romney smoking grimly, grimly near your chamber door?

dude, mormons don't smoke!

oh. nevermind.

(slinks away, thinking, "i'm watching too much keith olberman.")

ailikate said...

Do we have a knitting poet laureate? If not, you have my nomination. My husband thought I had gone insane due to the amount of cackling while I read this.

Leesy said...

I'm a few days late in saying it, but Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

giggle giggle giggle SNORT! Thanks. I need the laughs today. :o)

Anonymous said...

By the way, I would be remiss in NOT showing you the kick-ass costume my daughter (now 13 years old) made for Halloween (you photographed her and me for the 1000 Knitters project when you came to Alabama). She is the RETRO Optimus Prime; check it out here:

Ros said...

Lovely image of a slutty Barbara Walker!! Your poem was most definitely a treat, Franklin. Thank you!

JoAnn said...

Since Halloween was cancelled in New England by Mother Nature this was a much appreciated make-up gift. What DO I do with all that chocolate??

Dawn said...

Such brilliance! Such meter! Now I wait for the twist on "Night Before Christmas". You rock!

Wendy said...

This is too brilliant!

Dez Crawford said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

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