Double, double… rhymes are trouble by Katie M. Deaver

I never considered myself one of those people who gets really “into” Halloween. But, as one might expect having an eight year old, especially an eight year old who celebrates her birthday shortly before the holiday, has made me much more in tune with the excitement and preparation which surrounds Halloween.

One of the traditions that I do very much enjoy is watching Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus and Double, Double, Toil and Trouble and, new to us last year, drinking warm mulled wine after coming home from a chilly (and this year possibly snowy!) night of Trick or Treating.

In my work as a church musician Halloween is book-ended by the celebration of Reformation and All Saints Day, so it tends to be a fairly busy time for my work schedule. As a result this is often the time of year that I reconsider my self-care and centering routines in the hopes of somehow preparing myself for the coming holiday season and the end of the year. This year, as I checked in on my current practices I realized that I haven’t been reading as much poetry as I used to when I was in grad school. As a result I have been trying to get back in the habit of reading some poetry a few times each week to help center myself. As luck would have it the last few weeks have found me stumbling upon poetry with connections to the Halloween season. I want to share with you a portion of two seasonal poems that I have encountered and are sticking with me.

The first poem is from the book the witch doesn’t burn in this one by amanda lovelace. Throughout the book lovelace takes on themes of abuse, eating disorders, trauma, death, murder, menstruation, transphobia and more in short poems of varied styles. But throughout she continues to return to her understandings of witches and fire.

will try
to steal
your light

& use it as
a weapon

but there’s
a piece
of good

don’t have
the patience to
control it

like you do.


Another poet I return to often is Audre Lorde. Though I approached her poetry through an academic lens during grad school now I find myself able to relax into the flow of her words and ideas in a much more emotionally engaged and personal way. Lorde’s poem, “October,” written in 1980 offers many pieces to ponder, here is an excerpt from that poem:

…Seboulisa, mother of power
keeper of birds
fat and beautiful
give me the strength of your eyes
to remember
what I have learned
help me to attend with passion
these tasks at my hand for doing…




Dr. Katie M. Deaver, holds a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology with an emphasis in Feminist Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Deaver holds a B.A. in Religion and Music from Luther College in Decorah, IA, as well as MATS and Th.M. degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Elmhurst College and lives in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula.

Categories: Academics, Art, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General, Poetry, Spirituality

Tags: , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Greatly enjoyed your post today, thanks so much Katie M. Deaver. Regards celebrating autumn, a poem here by a Japanese Buddhist nun named Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1874) — & where she also seems to worry about protecting the environment — she says —

    I cannot leave without
    Breaking off a branch of a
    Tagano-o autumn maple —
    If a few leaves happen to fall
    Please forgive me, mountain guardians!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Today is an ancient Pagan holy day. One of its names is Samhain (pronounced SOW-en). It’s the true beginning of winter, when nature goes into the darkness to rest until spring. This is also the beginning of the season when souls can return to earth for a visit, thus Dia de los Muertos. Sometimes the dead trick us, sometimes they treat us, and if we’re smart we give them small gifts, like food. Chocolate?

    When I was a kid, we dressed up, picked up our little bags, memorized little verses or songs, and just went out around our suburban neighborhood in complete trust that we would be safe. No poisoned candy. No people with guns. Our parents didn’t have to come with us. We did our tricks (the little songs or verses), got our treats, and went home and watched TV and ate candy. So different from today. Here in Long Beach, two men invaded a Halloween party two nights ago, shot two or three people dead, and wounded another seven or eight people. No one yet knows why.

    Let’s try to have a happy holy day anyway. Ignore the news for one day. It’s scarier that horror movies!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oops my other comment just disappeared. The gist, thank you so much for sharing these poems, Katie. I subscribe to a-poem-a-day offered by Not all to my taste, but I am touched to the core.

    Wishing everyone a safe and blessed All Hallow’s Eve and Samhain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing these beautiful poems and your insights. I enjoyed your post very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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