Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern

Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern
by David McCord

Mr. Macklin takes his knife 
And carves the yellow pumpkin face: 
Three holes bring eyes and nose to life, 
The mouth has thirteen teeth in place. 
Then Mr. Macklin just for fun 
Transfers the corn-cob pipe from his 
Wry mouth to Jack’s, and everyone 
Dies laughing! O what fun it is 
Till Mr. Macklin draws the shade 
And lights the candle in Jack’s skull. 
Then all the inside dark is made 
As spooky and as horrorful 
As Halloween, and creepy crawl 
The shadows on the tool-house floor, 
With Jack’s face dancing on the wall. 
O Mr. Macklin! where’s the door?
Another quick Halloween poem by McCord:

On Halloween, what bothers some

About these witches is, how come

In sailing through the air like bats
They never seem to lose their hats?


How fun are these poems!  David McCord (1897-1997) was a renowned author of children’s poetry and also wrote adult poetry and prose.  McCord, who was born in New York City in 1897, lived for a while in Princeton, N.J. At 12, he moved with his family to Oregon, where he lived on an uncle’s farm on the edge of a wilderness. It was there, he later wrote, that he learned, ”Poetry is rhythm, just as the planet Earth is rhythm; the best writing, poetry or prose — no matter what the message it conveys — depends on a very sure and subtle rhythm.”

McCord graduated from Harvard with a bachelor of arts in 1921 and received a master’s in chemistry in 1922. He became an editor of the Harvard Alumni Bulletin the next year, and from 1925 until his retirement in 1963 was the executive director of the Harvard Fund Council. In 1956, Harvard awarded him its first honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

He wrote or edited more than 40 books of poetry and prose. Among them were ”One at a Time,” a collection of his children’s verse published in 1978 by Little, Brown; ”On Occasion,” a collection of his occasional verse published in 1943 by Harvard University Press; ”About Boston,” a collection of essays about the city first published in 1948 by Doubleday and reprinted in 1964 by Little, Brown, and ”What Cheer,” an anthology of British and American humorous and witty verse published by Coward-McCann in 1945 and reprinted in 1946 as ”The Pocket Book of Humorous Verse.”

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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