charles and debra ghigna stay awhile

#10 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.

 photo by LostMyHeadache – NewBeginnings –

Ooooo! This is the part of the Potluck where we dim the lights and tell scary stories! 

Today we have not one, but two guest poets – Charles Ghigna and his lovely wife, Debra! I’ll admit that when I invited Charles, I didn’t realize Debra was also a poet.  I must say, these two clearly know how to par-tay. Along with their poems and cookie recipe, they also brought their sleeping bags! I love guests who know how to make themselves at home. Now we can stay up all night and have a poetry slam. The attire of choice: silk pajamas, of course! 

Both of these poems were inspired by the many sleepovers Charles and Debra’s now-grown son Chip enjoyed with his friends at their home in Alabama. Charles’ poem was published in Halloween Night: Twenty-One Spooktacular Poems (Running Press, 2006), and Debra’s poem appeared in Jack and Jill magazine. Slumber party guests were always treated to lots of popcorn and Ghost Bites. Who could ask for more?

by Debra Ghigna 

Last night all the lightning
and thunder was frightening.
And so I crawled under
your bed for a while,
beneath a big pile
of clothing and toys
(because of the noise). 

So next time it’s stormy
and you’re looking for me,
don’t worry or wonder;
if I’m sleeping over
and it starts to thunder –
I’m sleeping under. 

© 2010 Debra Ghigna. All rights reserved.


photo by JPSnuffy.

by Charles Ghigna 

We sat around the living room
And turned out every light,
Then started telling stories that
Would keep us up all night. 

We passed around a flashlight as
We told our favorite tale;
The room was filled with shadows,
Each face grew gray and pale. 

Then after every ghostly yarn
We searched around the room
To see if zombies hid within
The dark and dreary gloom. 

We searched behind the sofa and
We checked beneath each chair
To make sure nothing drifted in
Upon the midnight air. 

The longer that we stayed awake
The darker things became.
Our flashlight faded in the night
And closed our ghostly game. 

A chilling hush fell over us
As right before our eyes
Appeared a most appalling sight
That caught us by surprise. 

A shadow drifted down the stairs
Appearing pale and calm,
But when it shouted, “Go to bed!”
I knew it was my mom. 

© 2006 Charles Ghigna. All rights reserved.

© 2010 Charles Ghigna.

GHOST BITES: Ghoulishly Good Cookies! 


2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract 


Cookie sheet, greased 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. 

Carefully fold in vanilla extract. 

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. 

Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and immediately turn off the oven and allow cookies to remain in the oven six hours or overnight without opening the oven door. 

(This is why “Ghost Bites” are also known as “Forgotten Cookies.” 

Thanks, Charles and Debra, for bringing the spirit of Southern hospitality with you!


Charles Ghigna (Father Goose) is an award-winning author, poet, nationally-syndicated feature writer and speaker who has published over 40 books for children and adults. His honors include the Parents’ Choice Book Award and the National Parenting Honor Award, and his poems (5000+!) have appeared in hundreds of magazines, anthologies, and textbooks. When not visiting schools around the country or presenting poetry programs at conferences, book fairs, libraries, and other literary events, Charles gazes out the window of his “treehouse” attic office, daydreams, and creates new poems to delight his legions of fans. He collects baseball cards, letter openers, kaleidoscopes and miniature geese which like to rearrange themselves and visit each other at night. Like them, Charles is personable, fun-loving, and always well-behaved. He blogs at Father Goose (new poems every week) and Bald Eagle (poems and quotes for authors and artists). It is likely his sleeping bag is filled with goose down. ☺ (Click here for Charles’ Poetry Makers Interview.)


Debra Ghigna is a children’s author and poet whose work has appeared in numerous magazines such as Spider, Ladybug, Turtle, Lollipop and Children’s Playmate. She is Charles’ best friend, favorite poet, and toughest critic, and often travels with him to school visits and conferences. Debra and Charles collaborated on Christmas is Coming (Charlesbridge, 2000), and a new easy reader coming out in September, Barn Storm! (Random House, 2010). A fan of baseball and folk art, Debra grew up admiring Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Gregory Hines, and Gene Kelly. Hopefully we can convince her to tap dance for all of us here at the Potluck! 

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


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