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From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: 10/29/2011

I finished reading "Death is a Lonely Business" aloud to its author this evening. Our mutual friend is comfy and surrounded by Halloween treasures, and he's got that creekwater gleam in his eye.

October regards to you--and a shameless poem! Can't wait for Primordial secrets to be revealed...

The Halloween Wood
(with apology to Ray Bradbury)

Whenever weary autumn winds
Go whirling over Hallowtown
To send the scent of squash beyond
Its weathered street-name signs

A shaggy shadow past the mill
Wears midnight like an ebon crown
--A billion branches blacker than
These measured little lines

Black as nails, the trackless trails
Of Halloween Wood!
Dressed in soot from crest to root
The Halloween Wood!

But be you brave enough to breach
The border of that ghastly hall
Upon the eve when spirits grieve
October thirty-first

Then steal yourself for such a sight
As certainly surpasses all
For on that night are shadows shattered
By a blazing burst!

Hot as hob, the bons abob
In Halloween Wood!
Pie nor porch were never scorched
Like Halloween Wood!

Rare as love, a seed above
The moonlit meadows may be blown
To send a single tree out of
Some woodlot's leafy piles

Here, however, glows a grove
Whose hanging harvests, overgrown
Are Jack-O-Lantern legions like
A galaxy of smiles!

Veritable hosts of vegetable ghosts
The Halloween Wood!
Fiery wicks and fairy tricks
In Halloween Wood!

Picture all the twigs atossing
Each with golden globe adorned
Arcs of smokey, artichokey
Treats too fine to eat!

Glad and figgy, fat and glossy,
Fruitfly haloed, firefly horned,
Armies on the limb, a wall
Of pre-All-Hallows heat!

Delerious pleasure, the mysterious treasure
Of Halloween Wood!
You'll jump in wonder at the pumpkin plunder
Of Halloween Wood!

Once a man called Moundshroud came
And picked an ember from its leaves
And not a Hallowtowner knows
Where sprouted what he took

Another fellow--Ray--he spent
A night in dream beneath its eaves
And what he painted when he woke
He made a favorite book!

Restless, the souls who rest on boles
In Halloween Wood!
Caught, those whose thought meets the muse
Called Halloween Wood!

So if the wind at 2 A.M.
Comes back to find you still awake
Because your need for pumpkin seed
And sugar-skull still growls

Go rove into the dreaming fogs
Or blow above the steaming bogs
Of apple-cider-spider-blood and
Hills of hellish howls!

You'll draw towards a mob of gourds
All grinning--as they should!
Burning bright on Halloween Night
The folk of Halloween Wood!

Branch-cathedrals of the Earth
Weird and gold and warm and good!
Laughing forest, candle-crackling
Mocking all that's understood!
Thrice-sublime with spice and time


From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/06/2011

Lovely to carry on the Halloween tradition! Give our October/November love to Ray, and keep writing your wonderful poems. (I just brushed a handful of yellow leaves off my keyboard, showering down from the monitor as I read!)


From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 11/10/2011

Must be one of those Willy Wonka monitors! You're too kind.

I couldn't help noticing a copy of Darwin's Children by Ray's bedside this week, autographed by you to "Papa Ray." The room got a little blurry. I must've had something in my eye.



From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/16/2012

Cool! Hoping to make it down to the LA Book Festival this Spring--hope you can both make it there!

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