Back in the fifties in our Scottish village we children would dress up in old clothes and put soot on our faces. The clothes were worn back to front to fool the fairy folk. This was our disguise. We sometimes carried a turnip lantern ( like a pumpkin one, but we did not know what a pumpkin was back then.) We would then knock on the neighbours’ doors. The neighbour would say ‘Who’s there’ and we would call out ‘Please help the guisers.’ We would be asked into the house where we had to; sing a song, recite a poem, or tell a joke. Our reward was fruit or sweets and occasionally a thrupenny bit. We played no tricks on those who refused us entry and earned our treats from those who let us in.
Below is the poem entitled Please Help the Guisers which was written by poet
Foster. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.
Read Poems by
A knock, knock, knocking at my door ‘Who’s there?‘ I cried pretending fear
‘We are the guisers in disguise, open the door my dear.’
‘Why do you come?’ I ask of them, as if I am in fright.
To protect you from the ghostly folk who are abroad tonight.’
We come as friends, as you will see, with cans of blazing fire
at our wild singing they will flee, but payment we require
‘And what, I pray, is the price to pay for me to hear your song.’
‘An apple, orange, some sweeties please, or a coin won’t go wrong.’
I opened the door and there they were,
the three little girls from up the stair.
All dolled up in their mothers clothes,
bright red lips, and soot on their nose
‘Welcome my dears, and come along in, and let your magic song begin.’
Contest: Halloween Fun
Sponsor: Russell Sivey
Margaret Foster Sept 26th 2011
‘see about poem’