Spooks (Happy Halloween!!!)
Illustration by Mac Harshberger
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth
Found the most lovely yellow and gold and black book, The Singing Crow and Other Poems, by Nathalia Crane. Another FOPAL find, of course.
The gorgeous yellow and black plates, and stylized black and white illustrations, are drawn by the amazing art deco artist Mac Harshberger. The book was published in 1926 by Albert & Charles Boni of New York.
I’ve just purchase a book online about this artist, Mac Harshberger: Art Deco Américain, from the The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/California Palace of the Legion of Honor/Achenback Foundatin for Graphic Arts, 1986. You can bet I will see if I can see their holdings, next time I visit (I’m a member).
Here’s the poem, by Nathalia Crane, that accompanies this most excellent illustration.
Oh, I went down to Framingham
To sit on a graveyard wall;
“If there be spooks,” I said to myself,
“I shall see them, one and all.”
I hugged the knee to still the heart,
My gaze on a tomb ‘neath a tree.
Down in the village the clock struck nine
But never a ghost did I see.
A boy passed by and his hair was red,
He paused by a sunken mound.
“How goes it with all the ghosts,” said he,
have you heard any walking around?”
Now the taunt was the sign of the boy’s disdain
For the study I did pursue.
So I took the hour to teach that lad
Of the things unseen but true.
I talked of howler, banshee, ghoul
The gristly and the lean.
I sat on that graveyard wall and told
of all the things I had never seen.
And suddenly a bat swung by
Two cats began to bawl,
And that red-haired boy walked off in haste
When I needed him most of all.
I lost a slipper as I fled―
I bumped against a post,
But nevertheless I knew I’d won
The secret of raising a ghost.
And the method is this―at least for a miss,
You must sit on a graveyard wall,
And talk of the things you never have seen
And you’ll see them, one and all.
See more illustrations from this beautiful book…