Monday, January 16, 2012

What on Earth is a Graveyard Rabbit?

If you look to the right you will see a strange looking rabbit and wonder what that is all about.  Trust me, so did I!  I'm supposed to be a what?  What's a Graveyard Rabbit?  I had to know!  It did not take very much or very long to find out.  Who doesn't love Google at times like this?

The Graveyard Rabbit
by Frank Lebby Stanton

In the white moonlight, where the willow waves,
He halfway gallops among the graves—
A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam,
Content to dwell where the dead men dream,
But wary still!        5
For they plot him ill;
For the graveyard rabbit hath a charm
(May God defend us!) to shield from harm.
Over the shimmering slabs he goes—
Every grave in the dark he knows;        10
But his nest is hidden from human eye
Where headstones broken on old graves lie.
Wary still!
For they plot him ill;
For the graveyard rabbit, though sceptics scoff,        15
Charmeth the witch and the wizard off!
The black man creeps, when the night is dim,
Fearful, still, on the track of him;
Or fleetly follows the way he runs,
For he heals the hurts of the conjured ones.        20
Wary still!
For they plot him ill;
The soul’s bewitched that would find release,—
To the graveyard rabbit go for peace!
He holds their secret—he brings a boon        25
Where winds moan wild in the dark o’ the moon;
And gold shall glitter and love smile sweet
To whoever shall sever his furry feet!
Wary still!
For they plot him ill;        30
For the graveyard rabbit hath a charm
(May God defend us!) to shield from harm.

Edmund Clarence Stedman's American Anthology 
1787-1900, published in 1900

That anthology actually contains five of Stanton's lyric poems.  I fell in love with this poem as I'm sure the founders of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits must have.  Well, that is until about the 28th line or so -- "To whoever shall sever his furry feet!"  The scary part of that line is that I had a recurring dream when I was a child -- I kept dreaming that I had to wear special skates or my feet would fall off.  Seriously!  I kid you not!  I wonder if that was somehow prophetic.  Hmmm... kind of creepy actually.

At any rate, I don't think I will ever want to look at or touch a rabbit's foot again! But, that is for another conversation.

I love the poem and I love that my new found association adopted it!  I'll adopt it too -- with an ever-so-slight different selection of words.  Getting back to that button on the right, it was lovingly designed by yet another graveyard rabbit, the footnoteMaven.  You might want to Google that name too!

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