poemof the moment
Then I feel thae lang een set Like a doom upon ma heid, For the warlock’s livin' yet— But the rowan’s deid!
about the poem
Few poems can match the doomy atmosphere of Violet Jacob’s ‘The Rowan’. Rowan trees, according to folklore, were supposed to provide some measure of protection against spirits and malevolent creatures that prowl in the night. After describing a blighted landscape, the terrified narrator of ‘The Rowan’ realises with a start that the rowan tree that grew across his or her threshold has died, leaving him or her prey to the evil that lurks outdoors. It’s a small masterpiece of dread perfect for Halloween.
Image: Solitary (Explored 2014/03/12) by Neil Tackaberry, under a Creative Commons licence
poem chosen by…
Halloween is one of our favourite times of the year, with lots of scary poems to mark the occasion. Scottish poets have long been attracted to supernatural elements - and you can find plenty of examples on our website. We also have Halloween poetry posters and blogs, such as our 2012 piece celebrating the 100th anniversary of Walter de la Mare's 'The Listeners' (our most popular blog ever).
Violet Augusta Mary Frederica Kennedy-Erskine was born at the House of Dun near Montrose, on 1 September 1863. In later writings she hinted at the ‘suffocating respectability’ of the life she was meant to lead. Her marriage in 1894 to Arthur Otway Jacob, an Irishman serving as a lieutenant with the 20th Royal Hussars, gave her the chance she’d long wanted to travel the world. Jacob was a very private person, revealing little of herself in her poetry. Jacob had great sympathy with the lives of others, especially with the poor, the put-upon, and the vagrants.