By James Riley
With gleeful laughs and frozen faces,
Happy children to my classroom came;
Costumes, excitement, candy and treats,
They looked different, yet seemed the same.
They all were something original,
Gruesome warrior or pretty maid;
Witches, bums and bag ladies too,
Uninhibited and unafraid.
Each child knew they were special,
As they scampered in mock fright;
Acceptance reigned within them,
They belonged on Halloween night.
But when the celebration is over,
If one peered closely inside,
Would another mask be unveiled,
A timid youth who wished to hide?
Inside they may feel all alone,
A clever mask they hide behind;
No one sees the tears that flow,
Nor feels the pain or hears their whine.
They long for one who loves them,
Undermining their self-made jail;
Still creating a parade of masks,
When pretentions begin to fail.
Underneath there dwells confusions,
Born in isolation and in fear;
They desire another’s gentle touch,
A caring heartbeat to be near.
Intently listen and try to hear,
Acceptance will set them free;
A bond is needed for them to share,
Behind the mask a child you’ll see.
Remember the child of Halloween,
Who scurried about in mock fear;
Understand that for many of them,
The masks stay on all year.