She leaps and whirls to a ritual beat,
Bare feet kicking loose the earth;
None of us, idle by, know her name,
Or why, on Halloween, she comes -
Each year, the same slow night
Each year, her same swift sway.
No vaulted stars illuminate her way,
Lulled or snake-charmed by the beat
Resounding in this deep-well night;
Perhaps they, like us, crashed to earth,
To this place where dream-touched come,
To this place which has no name.
She mouths and mimes the names
Of the countless many who lost their way;
Those who would not, could not come
And herald thunder's echoing drum-beat:
Her hard footfalls on the loam and earth,
Her hard footfalls in the night.
Others curse and rail against the night,
Fearing demons they dare not name,
We feel them, restless, beneath the earth,
And stirred this night, always;
Awakened by the lady's pulse-warm beat,
Awakened by the night, they come.
Our fears, now shaped, are swift to come,
Rising with the tide of slow-fall night -
From chambers low and deep, an ascending beat,
Speaking to us who go unnamed,
Tempting us, offering us a different way,
Tempting us to a worm-fed womb of earth.
"Go back!" cries she, and grasps the earth,
Kneeling, shaken, the passion come;
"I have come to light the way
And hereon free you this hallowed night;
You who have come, unnamed,
You who answered a siren's swift drum-beat."
And now, the way is open; join the night,
Or steal to earth, forsaking she who has no name;
Dawn comes in a heartbeat.