Halloween Banshee Poem for Children






Emerges from

Behind the shadows,

Watching you, stalking you,

Preparing to pounce on you.

Shivers of fear run down your back,

You sense the threat of looming attack…

Shrieks split the night, it’s no Halloween prank!

The Banshee

“Growing up I heard many stories of grown Irish men and women scuttling off across fields and jumping over ditches (our natural greenery such as trees and plants that separate one field from another) if they thought they heard the Irish Banshee’s lonesome, mournful keening resounding throughout their farm. ” Mary Kelly Godley


The tale of the Banshee has a special place in Irish mythology and its’ origins can be traced back hundreds of years. The name Banshee comes from the Gaelic word ” Bean- sidhe”, meaning ” fairy woman “,  but she is a little more complex than that.

Apparently, the tradition arose from the custom of singing laments and keening at funerals ( the word ” keening ” comes from the Gaelic “caointe “, referring to crying ). Some female singers accepted alcohol as a reward and were therefore banished to become these wailing women of the night.  The Banshee is said to announce an impending death in a family by wailing or screaming , an obvious link to its’ historical origins.


Halloween, that season of serial spookiness, is the perfect time for this mythical woman to appear. Not something that you want to see or hear while taking your nightly winter walk!

The interesting thing is that most children seem to love the traditions surrounding Halloween. Despite years of teaching, I never came across a child who was bothered by the festival. On the contrary, it seemed to stir their imagination and creativity. Nor do I know of anybody who has it as a scary first memory, which is noteworthy too.


Halloween Banshee Poem

This poem is written in the form of an etheree, a poetry format that I first discovered while reading the work of Dorinda Duclos.  It is basically a poem of ten lines ( usually ) , beginning with a one syllable line. An extra syllable is then added to each line, so that your last line has ten syllables.

Writing the Halloween Banshee poem turned out to be great fun because I focused on the structure and kept it simple. And that got me thinking, wouldn’t it be a great classroom ( or home ) tool for encouraging children to explore the world of poetry? Not only are they having fun fitting words into a structure, they are also developing a thorough understanding of syllabification. Anything that is enjoyable aids the learning process and I think that this might fit the bill.



The image is by Imagase on Deviantart discovered first on pinterest.

The quote is from Mary Kelly Godley, writing in HubPages August 05, 2016 edition.

Another one ticked off my October targets!

©Bernie Delaney






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