All Hallows’ Eve

By Dorothea Tanning 1910–2012 Dorothea Tanning
Be perfect, make it otherwise.
Yesterday is torn in shreds.
Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes
Rip apart the breathing beds.
Hear bones crack and pulverize.
Doom creeps in on rubber treads.
Countless overwrought housewives,
Minds unraveling like threads,
Try lipstick shades to tranquilize
Fears of age and general dreads.
Sit tight, be perfect, swat the spies,
Don’t take faucets for fountainheads.
Drink tasty antidotes. Otherwise
You and the werewolf: newlyweds.

Dorothea Tanning, “All Hallows’ Eve” from Coming to That. Copyright © 2011 by Dorothea Tanning. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Coming to That (Graywolf Press, 2011)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Dorothea Tanning 1910–2012

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Life Choices, Midlife, Relationships, Home Life

Holidays Halloween

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Dorothea  Tanning

Biography

Artist and writer Dorothea Tanning grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and spent almost 30 years living in Paris, before moving to New York City. Tanning started writing poetry in her late ’80s, and her work was subsequently published in the Yale Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and the New Republic. Her first collection of poems, A Table of Content, was published in 2004. The epigraph to A Table of Content comments that “it’s hard . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Midlife, Relationships, Home Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.