‘Tis the week when all the creepy crawly scary creatures come out at night to haunt little boys and girls like yourselves. So let’s have a frighteningly good time with this weekend’s edition of Words for the Weekend, shall we? Don’t fear (the reaper), come closer. Closer. Clo-ser. Oh, don’t worry, I won’t bite you. . . . But I can’t make the same promise for the critters below. Enjoy words by Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Howitt, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and more, and be sure to check out the sidebar and footer music playlists for even more spooky pleasure. See you next week! (said the spider to the fly) . . .
“Stir up the air, in the valley
Looked at the ground below
Oh I was surrounded – there’s nowhere left to go
I heard the wind shout, beneath my feet
I felt the earth shake inside of me
I’ll run forever but I won’t get far
‘Cause if I don’t have you, I will starve
There’s a wolf in my heart
There’s a wolf in my heart
“You are the Wilderness” by Voxhaul Broadcast on The Walking Dead (AMC’s Original Soundtrack – Vol. 1) (video)
“Sittin’ thinkin’ sinkin’ drinkin’
Wondering what I’d do when I’m through tonight
Smoking, moping, maybe just hoping
Some little girl will pass on by . . .
I said my, my, like the spider to a fly
Jump right ahead in my web”
The Spider and the Fly
by Mary Howitt
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.” . . .
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple – there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue –
Thinking only of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour – but she ne’er came out again!
And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
Unto an evil counselor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” ~ E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” ~ Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale
“Literature was not born the day when a boy crying “wolf, wolf” came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying “wolf, wolf” and there was no wolf behind him.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature
“And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.” ~ Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are
“Hold it. You know what I’d like to see? I’d like to see the three bears eat the three little pigs, and then the bears join up with the big bad wolf and eat Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood! Tell me a story like that, OK?” ~ Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there.” ~ Stephen King
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1
The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
‘Turn on the dark,
I’m afraid of the light.’
“Batty” by Shel Silverstein from A Light in the Attic
“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth . . . Such are the autumn people.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
“Beware of the night, child. All cats are black in the dark.” ~ Jean Genet, The Blacks: A Clown Show
“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” ~ Groucho Marx
“The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.” ~ Confucius
by Rainer Maria Rilke
A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:
just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.
She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once
as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.
“Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock
“The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”
Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.”
~ James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: A Collection of Modern Tales for Our Life and Times
The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood’
by Agha Shahid Ali
First, grant me my sense of history:
I did it for posterity,
for kindergarten teachers
and a clear moral:
Little girls shouldn’t wander off
in search of strange flowers,
and they mustn’t speak to strangers.
And then grant me my generous sense of plot:
Couldn’t I have gobbled her up
right there in the jungle?
Why did I ask her where her grandma lived?
As if I, a forest-dweller,
didn’t know of the cottage
under the three oak trees
and the old woman who lived there
As if I couldn’t have swallowed her years before?
And you may call me the Big Bad Wolf,
now my only reputation.
But I was no child-molester
though you’ll agree she was pretty.
And the huntsman:
Was I sleeping while he snipped
my thick black fur
and filled me with garbage and stones?
I ran with that weight and fell down,
simply so children could laugh
at the noise of the stones
cutting through my belly,
at the garbage spilling out
with a perfect sense of timing,
just when the tale
should have come to an end.
Video reading by Hope Smith here: