Allhallows Party by Josephine Jacobsen


Lincoln’s spring weather in 1957 included heavy snowfalls (8.4 inches on March 24th) lasting well into the spring. In fact, April 11th was the date of the last snow that year, which put 1957 in the latest quarter of springs from 1948-2010. As if the snow wasn’t enough, a tornado tore along the northwest edge of Lincoln on May 20th, captured in photographs here. A poem featuring a very different season appeared in the Prairie Schooner that spring, penned by future Poet Laureate Josephine Jacobsen, who would go on to hold the post from 1971 to 1973.

                                                          by Tory Clower


Allhallows Party
Josephine Jacobsen

Down the wet-leaves steps comes the tiger-head
slowly. Five feminine years timid and proud
move the striped stuff toward joy; the limp tail slips behind.

Follows the smaller skull-capped cautious shape,
fraternal, one-footing after the tufted tail-slip.
The terrace swarms with lavorious monsters of the maternal mind.

Leaves. Years. Years. Leaves…the play will turn more gruff.
There will be treats; and certainly tricks enough.
In some weather she will meet her tiger, his skull will come true.

But they acknowledge that future now and step down, near,
into, the toothy jack-o’-lantern light with fear
and courage. Though watched by witches they shall have their due.