Post a Ghost Poem

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Post a Ghost Poem

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1AnneBoleyn
Oct 20, 2007, 5:04pm

In preparation for the fast approaching ‘All Hallows Eve’ post your favourite Ghost Poem.

Or better still compose and post your own Ghost Poem!!!

2AnneBoleyn
Oct 20, 2007, 5:06pm

The Little Ghost

I KNEW her for a little ghost
That in my garden walked;
The wall is high—higher than most—
And the green gate was locked.

And yet I did not think of that
Till after she was gone—
I knew her by the broad white hat,
All ruffled, she had on.

By the dear ruffles round her feet,
By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
Her gown’s white folds among.

I watched to see if she would stay,
What she would do—and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
I let my garden grow!

She bent above my favourite mint
With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled—there was no hint
Of sadness in her face.

She held her gown on either side
To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
The way great ladies go.

And where the wall is built in new
And is of ivy bare
She paused—then opened and passed through
A gate that once was there.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950).

3starfishian
Oct 20, 2007, 6:30pm

This one always gives me a little shiver...

Winter Dusk

Dark frost was in the air without,
The dusk was still with cold and gloom,
When less than even a shadow came
And stood within the room.

But of the three around the fire,
None turned a questioning head to look,
Still read a clear voice, on and on,
Still stooped they o'er their book.

The children watched their mother's eyes
Moving on softly line to line;
It seemed to listen too—that shade,
Yet made no outward sign.

The fire-flames crooned a tiny song,
No cold wind moved the wintry tree;
The children both in Faërie dreamed
Beside their mother's knee.

And nearer yet that spirit drew
Above that heedless one, intent
Only on what the simple words
Of her small story meant.

No voiceless sorrow grieved her mind,
No memory her bosom stirred,
Nor dreamed she, as she read to two,
'Twas surely three who heard.

Yet when, the story done, she smiled
From face to face, serene and clear,
A love, half dread, sprang up, as she
Leaned close and drew them near.

Walter de la Mare 1873-1956

4streamsong
Oct 21, 2007, 1:43am

Well, not a ghost poem exactly but what's Halloween without it?

hist whist
little ghostthings
tip-toe
twinkle-toe

little twitchy
witches and tingling
goblins
hob-a-nob hob-a-nob

little hoppy happy
toad in tweeds
tweeds
little itchy monsters

with scuttling
eyes rustle and run
and
hidehidehide
whisk

whisk look out for the
old woman
with the wart on her
nose
what she'll do to yer
nobody knows

for she knows the
devil ooch
the devil ouch
the devil
ach the great

green
dancing
devil
devil

devil
devil

wheeEEE

e e cummings

5jburlinson
Oct 21, 2007, 7:13pm

By Mary Coleridge, great-grand niece of Samuel Taylor --

MASTER AND GUEST

There came a man across the moor,
Fell and foul of face was he.
He left the path by the cross-roads three,
And stood in the shadow of the door.

I asked him in to bed and board.
I never hated any man so.
He said he could not say me No.
He sat in the seat of my own dear lord.

"Now sit you by my side!" he said,
"Else may I neither eat nor drink.
You would not have me starve, I think."
He ate the offerings of the dead.

"I'll light you to your bed," quoth I.
"My bed is yours – but light the way!"
I might not turn aside nor stay;
I showed him where we twain did lie.

The cock was trumpeting the morn.
He said: "Sweet love, a long farewell!
You have kissed a citizen of Hell,
And a soul was doomed when you were born.

"Mourn, mourn no longer for your dear!
Him may you never meet above.
The gifts that Love hath given to Love,
Love gives away again to Fear."

6lorsomething
Modifié : Oct 23, 2007, 5:19pm

The old Halloween standard:

Little Orphant Annie

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other children, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers—
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:—
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst when they was "company," an' ole folks was there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she did n't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,—
You better mind yer parunts, and yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you
Don't
Watch
Out!

- James Whitcomb Riley

7Glassglue
Modifié : Oct 22, 2007, 5:02pm

Hi. I've been reading this group for almost a year, but I'm just now joining. Here's one of my favorite ghost poems (although it may be more properly called a limmerick).

Each night Father fills me with dread
When he sits at the foot of my bed;
I'd not mind that he speaks
In gibbers and squeaks,
But for seventeen years he's been dead.

-Edward Gorey

8heinous-eli
Oct 22, 2007, 5:08pm

One of my favorite poets overlooked by most school curriculums: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ad Finem

On the white throat of the useless passion
That scorched my soul with its burning breath,
I clutched my fingers in murderous fashion,
And gathered them close in a grip of death;
For why should I fan, or feed with fuel,
A love that showed me but blank despair?
So my hold was firm, and my grasp was cruel -
I meant to strangle it then and there!

I thought it was dead. But with no warning,
It rose from its grave last night, and came
And stood by my bed till the early morning,
And over and over it spoke your name.
Its throat was red where my hands had held it,
It burned my brow with its scorching breath;
And I said, the moment my eyes beheld it,
A love like this can know no death.

For just one kiss that your lips have given
In the lost and beautiful past to me
I would gladly barter my hopes of Heaven
And all the bliss of Eternity.
For never a joy are the angels keeping
To lay at my feet in Paradise,
Like that of into your strong arms creeping,
And looking into your love-lit eyes.

I know, in the way that sins are reckoned,
This thought is a sin of the deepest dye;
But I know, too, if an angel beckoned,
Standing close by the Throne on High,
And you adown by the gates infernal,
Should open your loving arms and smile,
I would turn my back on things supernal,
To lie on your breast a little while.

To know for an hour you were mine completely -
Mine in body and soul, my own -
I would bear unending tortures sweetly,
With not a murmur and not a moan.
A lighter sin or a lesser error
Might change through hope or fear divine;
But there is no fear, and hell has no terror,
To change or alter a love like mine.

9BaronVonLambshank
Oct 22, 2007, 8:45pm

Gorey is perfection!!!

10BaronVonLambshank
Oct 22, 2007, 8:54pm

This piece may be considered a ghost poem depending on your perspective, or by your own personal ghosts. It was somewhat inspired by Mr. Kerouac when I wrote it, so in honor of the anniversary of On The Road, I humbly submit it:

Hope is but a ghost
Riding this highway of nowhere night
Hitching rides from souls
Fleeing shadows of their own perceived destiny

“Names irrelevant… where ‘ya headed?”
“Nowhere special…”

Few recognize Hope’s true identity
As he sits transparent passenger-side
Transfixed on dashboard St. Christophers
And mile after mile of lost opportunities

Hope is but a ghost
In lover’s quarrels and lost embraces
Passionless kisses reveal
Shelved inevitable fates

Hope takes the place of remembrance
Lying beside those left behind
Under sheets still scented
With loves bittersweet emptiness

Hope is but a ghost
Laughing in the shadows
Of movie halls and mystery rooms
Where someone familiar stares out a tear stained window

Hope is but a ghost
The silent director of life’s drama
Where we perform rehearsed dialogue
Blurring the lines of madness and reality
With soliloquies of “If only I could…”

Hope is but a ghost
At truck stop diners
And amber light through dusty windows
Filled with shadow figures dancing across the panes

“well…this is my stop… good luck to ‘ya!!”
“Yeah…thanks for the ride…”

11AnneBoleyn
Modifié : Oct 24, 2007, 5:06am

>7 Glassglue: monohex - Great poem! Please don't wait another year before you post again!

>10 BaronVonLambshank: To the Baron. - 'Hope is a Ghost' ...I like it...I like it a lot.

12AnneBoleyn
Oct 31, 2007, 3:39am

The Haunted Palace

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace--
Radiant palace--reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion--
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This--all this--was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute's well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
(Porphyrogene!)
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace-door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!--for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home, the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh--but smile no more.

By Edgar Allan Poe

***Happy Halloween Everybody***

13HouseholdOpera
Oct 31, 2007, 10:01am

The Voice

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.

-- Thomas Hardy

14chellerystick
Nov 12, 2007, 12:02pm

We were IM'ing about Louise Gluck and I think she wrote a poem "All Hallows" that is really shivery. I will have to look for it.

15Magnocrat
Oct 2, 2009, 5:45am

Yes its what happens when we leave a loved one behind we 'falter forward' really we want to stay behind with them.
Even when time seperates us we keep looking back with longing.
Its Hardy's death wish that makes him such a great poet.

16omaca
Oct 2, 2009, 9:10am

I'm surprised no one has posted this yet.

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

17rolandperkins
Nov 30, 2009, 9:55am

I donʻt have access to it, but "Old Christmas" by Roy Helton is a ghost poem.

I am giving away the supposedly surprise ending by saying that it is a ghost poem.

One editor, perhaps Untermyer, wrote that it has to do with "two ghosts"; if so, I didnʻt understand it correctly. I thought that only one of the two characters whose dialogue makes up the poem was a ghost.

I found it in Untermyerʻs Modern American Poetry, an edition published, I think, in the 1930s.

18JNagarya
Modifié : Nov 30, 2009, 6:19pm

Here's one I wrote that I believe is destined to be an immortal classic.

Enjoy!

A Ghost Poem

Copyright (c) 2009, Joseph J. Nagarya

19shirleys1
Août 2, 2012, 8:07pm

Ghosts

Ghosts to my left
ghosts to my right.
Ghosts in front
oh what a fright.

Ghosts behind
ghosts all around.
How did I get
in this ghostly town?

I look at my hand,
what is this?
What do I see?
Oh my,
I can see
right through me!

Shirley Smothers

20SimonW11
Oct 5, 2012, 3:41am


"Old Christmas" by Roy Helton

"Where you coming from, Lomey Carter,
So airly over the snow?
And what's them pretties you got in your hand,
And where you aiming to go?

"Step in, Honey: Old Christmas morning
I ain't got nothing much;
Maybe a bite of sweetness and corn bread,
A little ham meat and such,

"But come in, Honey! Sally Anne Barton's
Hungering after your face.
Wait till I light my candle up:
Set down! There's your old place.

Now where you been so airly this morning?"
"Graveyard, Sally Anne.
Up by the trace in the salt lick meadows
Where Taulbe kilt my man."

"Taulbe ain't to home this morning . . .
I can't scratch up a light:
Dampness gets on the heads of the matches;
But I'll blow up the embers bright."

"Needn't trouble. I won't be stopping:
Going a long ways still."
"You didn't see nothing, Lomey Carter,
Up on the graveyard hill?"

"What should I see there, Sally Anne Barton?"
"Well, sperits do walk last night.
There were an elder bush a-blooming
While the moon still give some light."

"Yes, elder bushes, they bloom, Old Christmas,
And critters kneel down in their straw.
Anything else up in the graveyard?
One thing more I saw:

I saw my man with his head all bleeding
Where Taulbe's shot went through."
" What did he say?" " He stooped and kissed me."
"What did he say to you?"

"Said, Lord Jesus forguv your Taulbe;
But he told me another word;
He said it soft when he stooped and kissed me.
That were the last I heard."

"Taulbe ain't to home this morning."
"I know that, Sally Anne,
For I kilt him, coming down through the meadow
Where Taulbe kilt my man.

"I met him upon the meadow trace
When the moon were fainting fast,
And I had my dead man's rifle gun
And kilt him as he come past."

"But I heard two shots." "'Twas his was second:
He shot me 'fore be died:
You'll find us at daybreak, Sally Anne Barton:
I'm laying there dead at his side."

21SimonW11
Oct 5, 2012, 3:46am

Eden Rock Charles Causley

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden
Rock:
My father, twenty-five, in the same suit
Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.

My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress
Drawn at the waist, ribbon in her straw hat,
Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass.
Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.

She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight
From an old H.P. sauce-bottle, a screw
Of paper for a cork; slowly sets out
The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue.

The sky whitens as if lit by three suns.
My mother shades her eyes and looks my way
Over the drifted stream. My father spins
A stone along the water. Leisurely,
They beckon to me from the other bank.
I hear them call, 'See where the stream-path is!
Crossing is not as hard as you might think.'

I had not thought that it would be like this.

22rolandperkins
Oct 7, 2012, 12:54am

Thanks for posting Heltonʻs almost -forgotten
"Old Christmas", Simon W11.

Was I right (17) that only Lomey, not
Sally Abb was a ghost? (Or the critique
that called it a "dialogue between 2 ghosts"
may have meant that the "two ghosts"
were Taulbe and Lomey.)

23SimonW11
Oct 10, 2012, 3:01pm

Sally is pretty clearily alive she will be there in the morning. when the ghost has faded.

24shirleys1
Nov 11, 2012, 6:49pm

The Creepy old House

The following poem would have been perfect for Halloween but I failed to post it, until now.

In a creepy old house I
found a creepy old doll.
I bent to pick it up
and boy did I take a fall.
I stood up had a lump
on my head, but
otherwise alright.
I looked out the window,
day had turned to night.
I looked and looked but
did not find the doll.
I turned to leave and there
it was hanging by it’s neck
against the wall.
It’s creepy smile seemed to say,
“Come and play with me my friend.
We can play forever
without any end.”
To get out of this house
I ran for the door.
But there was no way out.
It was not there any more.
Through the window I
threw a heavy bust.
The window smashed and
there was a ton of dust.
I looked out the window
but there was no ground,
we seemed to be
floating in air.
I said, “No, no
this just isn’t fair!”
I felt a hand upon
my shoulder, I let
out a scream.
I heard someone say
“Wake up honey
your having a dream.”
I opened my eyes
to see my husbands
concerned face.
I breathed a sigh of
relief, I was in
a safe place.
My eyes grew heavy
and as I was returning
to sleep, I heard
my husband say,
“Go back to sleep
my friend,
then you
can play forever
without any end.”

Shirley Smothers

25Booksloth
Nov 12, 2012, 7:59am

Some great poems here - please don't stop just because Hallowe'en's over!

26shirleys1
Nov 13, 2012, 5:41pm

The Creepy old House

In a creepy old house I
found a creepy old doll.
I bent to pick it up
and boy did I have a fall.
I stood up had a lump
on my head, but
otherwise alright.
I looked out the window,
day had turned to night.
I looked and looked but
did not find the doll.
I turned to leave and there
it was hanging by it's neck
against the wall.
It's creepy smile seemed to say,
"Come and play with me my friend.
We can play forever
without any end."
To get out of this house
I ran for the door.
But there was no way out.
It was not there anymore.
Through a window I
threw a heavy bust.
The window smashed and
there was a ton of dust.
I looked out the window
but there was no ground,
we seemed to be
floating in air.
I said, No, no
this just isn't fair!"
I felt a hand upon
my shoulder, I let
out a scream.
I heard someone say,
"Wake up honey
your having a dream."
I opened my eyes
to see my husbands
concerned face.
I breathed a sigh of
relief, I was in
a safe place.
My eyes grew heavy
and as I was returning
to sleep, I heard
my husband say,
"Go back to sleep
my friend,
then you
can play forever
without any end."

Shirley Smothers

27madpoet
Modifié : Nov 14, 2012, 12:16am

Something in the woods
is keeping pace with me:
I see it's shadow
behind all the trees.
I hear it's step
like my own heart's beat,
on creeping, slinking,
monstrous feet.

-Anonymous

28alaudacorax
Modifié : Nov 14, 2012, 6:38am

Goethe's 'The Bride of Corinth'. This is an 1859 translation by William Edmondstoune Aytoun and Theodore Martin and I think it's by far the best poem of the translations I've found - I don't speak for its quality as a translation.

I.

A youth to Corinth, whilst the city slumber'd,
Came from Athens: though a stranger there,
Soon among its townsmen to be number'd,
For a bride awaits him, young and fair:
From their childhood's years
They were plighted feres,
So contracted by their parents' care.

II.

But may not his welcome there be hinder'd?
Dearly must he buy it, would he speed.
He is still a heathen with his kindred,
She and hers wash'd in the Christian creed.
When new faiths are born,
Love and troth are torn
Rudely from the heart, howe'er it bleed.

III.

All the house is hush'd; - to rest retreated
Father, daughters - not the mother quite;
She the guest with cordial welcome greeted,
Led him to a room with tapers bright;
Wine and food she brought,
Ere of them he thought,
Then departed with a fair good-night.

IV.

But he felt no hunger, and unheeded
Left the wine, and eager for the rest
Which his limbs, forspent with travel, needed,
On the couch he laid him, still undress'd.
There he sleeps - when lo!
Onwards gliding slow,
At the door appears a wondrous guest.

V.

By the waning lamp's uncertain gleaming
There he sees a youthful maiden stand,
Robed in white, of still and gentle seeming,
On her brow a black and golden band.
When she meets his eyes,
With a quick surprise
Starting, she uplifts a pallid hand.

VI.

"Is a stranger here, and nothing told me?
Am I then forgotten even in name?
Ah! 'tis thus within my cell they hold me,
And I now am cover'd o'er with shame!
Pillow still thy head
There upon thy bed,
I will leave thee quickly as I came."

VII.

"Maiden - darling! Stay, O stay!" and, leaping
From the couch, before her stands the boy:
"Ceres - Bacchus, here their gifts are heaping,
And thou bringest Amor's gentle joy!
Why with terror pale?
Sweet one, let us hail
These bright gods - their festive gifts employ."

VIII.

"Oh, no - no! Young stranger, come not nigh me;
Joy is not for me, nor festive cheer.
Ah! such bliss may ne'er be tasted by me,
Since my mother, in fantastic fear,
By long sickness bow'd,
To Heaven's service vow'd
Me, and all the hopes that warm'd me here."

IX.

"They have left our hearth, and left it lonely -
The old gods, that bright and jocund train.
One, unseen, in heaven, is worshipp'd only,
And upon the cross a Saviour slain;
Sacrifice is here,
Not of lamb nor steer,
But of human woe and human pain."

X.

And he asks, and all her words doth ponder -
"Can it be, that, in this silent spot,
I behold thee, thou surpassing wonder!
My sweet bride, so strangely to me brought?
Be mine only now -
See, our parents' vow
Heaven's good blessing hath for us besought."

XI.

"No! thou gentle heart", she cried in anguish;
"'Tis not mine, but 'tis my sister's place;
When in lonely cell I weep and languish,
Think, oh think of me in her embrace!
I think but of thee -
Pining drearily,
Soon beneath the earth to hide my face!"

XII.

"Nay! I swear by yonder flame which burneth,
Fann'd by Hymen, lost thou shalt not be;
Droop not thus, for my sweet bride returneth
To my father's mansion back with me!
Dearest! tarry here!
Taste the bridal cheer,
For our spousal spread so wondrously!"

XIII.

Then with word and sign their troth they plighted,
Golden was the chain she bade him wear;
But the cup he offer'd her she slighted,
Silver, wrought with cunning past compare.
"That is not for me;
All I ask of thee
Is one little ringlet of thy hair."

XIV.

Dully boom'd the midnight hour unhallow'd,
And then first her eyes began to shine;
Eagerly with pallid lips she swallow'd
Hasty draughts of purple-tinctured wine;
But the wheaten bread,
As in shuddering dread,
Put she always by with loathing sign.

XV.

And she gave the youth the cup: he drain'd it,
With impetuous haste he drain'd it dry;
Love was in his fever'd heart, and pain'd it,
Till it ached for joys she must deny.
But the maiden's fears
Stay'd him, till in tears
On the bed he sank, with sobbing cry.

XVI.

And she leans above him - "Dear one, still thee!
Ah, how sad am I to see thee so!
But, alas! these limbs of mine would chill thee:
Love! they mantle not with passion's glow;
Thou wouldst be afraid,
Didst thou find the maid
Thou hast chosen, cold as ice or snow."

XVII.

Round her waist his eager arms he bended,
With the strength that youth and love inspire;
"Wert thou even from the grave ascended,
I could warm thee well with my desire!
Panting kiss'on kiss!
Overflow of bliss!
Burn'st thou not, and feelest me on fire?"

XVIII.

Closer yet they cling, and intermingling,
Tears and broken sobs proclaim the rest;
His hot breath through all her frame is tingling,
There they lie, caressing and caress'd.
His impassion'd mood
Warms her torpid blood,
Yet there beats no heart within her breast!

XIX.

Meanwhile goes the mother, softly creeping,
Through the house, on needful cares intent,
Hears a murmur, and, while all are sleeping,
Wonders at the sounds, and what they meant.
Who was whispering so? -
Voices soft and low,
In mysterious converse strangely blent.

XX.

Straightway by the door herself she stations,
There to be assur'd what was amiss;
And she hears love's fiery protestations,
Words of ardour and endearing bliss:
"Hark, the cock!'Tis light!
But to-morrow night
Thou wilt come again?" - and kiss on kiss.

XXI.

Quick the latch she raises, and, with features
Anger - flush'd, into the chamber hies.
"Are there in my house such shameless creatures,
Minions to the stranger's will?" she cries.
By the dying light,
Who is 't meets her sight?
God! 'tis her own daughter she espies!

XXII.

And the youth in terror sought to cover,
With her own light veil, the maiden's head,
Clasp'd her close; but, gliding from her lover,
Back the vestment from her brow she spread,
And her form upright,
As with ghostly might,
Long and slowly rises from the bed.

XXIII.

"Mother! mother! wherefore thus deprive me
Of such joy as I this night have known?
Wherefore from these warm embraces drive me?
Was I waken'd up to meet thy frown?
Did it not suffice
That, in virgin guise,
To an early grave you brought me down?"

XXIV.

"Fearful is the weird that forc'd me hither,
From the dark-heap'd chamber where I lay;
Powerless are your drowsy anthems, neither
Can your priests prevail, howe'er they pray.
Salt nor lymph can cool,
Where the pulse is full;
Love must still burn on, though wrapp'd in clay."

XXV.

"To this youth my early troth was plighted,
Whilst yet Venus ruled within the land;
Mother! and that vow ye falsely slighted,
At your new and gloomy faith's command.
But no god will hear,
If a mother swear
Pure from love to keep her daughter's hand."

XXVI.

"Nightly from my narrow chamber driven,
Come I to fulfil my destin'd part,
Him to seek to whom my troth was given,
And to draw the life-blood from his heart.
He hath served my will;
More I yet must kill,
For another prey I now depart."

XXVII.

"Fair young man! thy thread of life is broken,
Human skill can bring no aid to thee.
There thou hast my chain - a ghastly token -
And this lock of thine I take with me.
Soon must thou decay,
Soon wilt thou be grey,
Dark although to-night thy tresses be!"

XXVIII.

"Mother! hear, oh hear my last entreaty!
Let the funeral-pile arise once more;
Open up my wretched tomb for pity,
And in flames our souls to peace restore.
When the ashes glow,
When the fire-sparks flow,
To the ancient gods aloft we soar."

ETA - I liked it so much that I started a discussion on it in the 'Gothic Literature' group which could just as easily have gone in this group - I remember being in two minds as to where to put it.

29Mary-McCray
Jan 28, 2013, 1:59pm

I love these!

My favorite ghost poem is too long to post. It's 43 pages of poem by Albert Goldbarth in his book "Beyond." The poem is called "The Two Domains." Here is his version in The Beloit Poetry Journal: http://www.bpj.org/PDF/V44N3.pdf

Mary McCray
http://www.bigbangpoetry.com

30jbbarret
Fév 1, 2013, 3:43am

Another by Charles Causley :

Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast

Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast
Bought an old castle complete with a ghost,
But someone or other forgot to declare
To Colonel Fazak that the spectre was there.

On the very first evening, while waiting to dine,
The Colonel was taking a fine sherry wine,
When the ghost, with a furious flash and a flare,
Shot out of the chimney and shivered, 'Beware!'

Colonel Fazackerley put down his glass
And said, 'My dear fellow, that's really first class!
I just can't conceive how you do it at all.
I imagine you're going to a Fancy Dress Ball?'

At this, the dread ghost made a withering cry.
Said the Colonel (his monocle firm in his eye),
'Now just how you do it, I wish I could think.
Do sit down and tell me, and please have a drink.'

The ghost in his phosphorous cloak gave a roar
And floated about between ceiling and floor.
He walked through a wall and returned through a pane
And backed up the chimney and came down again.

Said the Colonel, 'With laughter I'm feeling quite weak!'
(As trickles of merriment ran down his cheek).
'My house-warming party I hope you won't spurn.
You MUST say you'll come and you'll give us a turn!'

At this, the poor spectre - quite out of his wits -
Proceeded to shake himself almost to bits.
He rattled his chains and he clattered his bones
And he filled the whole castle with mumbles and moans.

But Colonel Fazackerley, just as before,
Was simply delighted and called out, 'Encore!'
At which the ghost vanished, his efforts in vain,
And never was seen at the castle again.

'Oh dear, what a pity!' said Colonel Fazak.
'I don't know his name, so I can't call him back.'
And then with a smile that was hard to define,
Colonel Fazackerley went in to dine.

31SimonW11
Fév 1, 2013, 3:56am

that is two by Charles Causley now.

32jbbarret
Fév 2, 2013, 8:13am

... two by Charles Causley now

Yes, it was only when I saw Eden Rock that you had posted, that I remembered Colonel Fazackerley, a favourite of mine from long ago.

33jbbarret
Fév 2, 2013, 8:17am

Phantasmagoria

by Lewis Carroll

CANTO I--The Trystyng



One winter night, at half-past nine,
Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,
I had come home, too late to dine,
And supper, with cigars and wine,
Was waiting in the study.

There was a strangeness in the room,
And Something white and wavy
Was standing near me in the gloom -
_I_ took it for the carpet-broom
Left by that careless slavey.

But presently the Thing began
To shiver and to sneeze:
On which I said "Come, come, my man!
That's a most inconsiderate plan.
Less noise there, if you please!"

"I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
"Out there upon the landing."
I turned to look in some surprise,
And there, before my very eyes,
A little Ghost was standing!

He trembled when he caught my eye,
And got behind a chair.
"How came you here," I said, "and why?
I never saw a thing so shy.
Come out! Don't shiver there!"

He said "I'd gladly tell you how,
And also tell you why;
But" (here he gave a little bow)
"You're in so bad a temper now,
You'd think it all a lie.

"And as to being in a fright,
Allow me to remark
That Ghosts have just as good a right
In every way, to fear the light,
As Men to fear the dark."

"No plea," said I, "can well excuse
Such cowardice in you:
For Ghosts can visit when they choose,
Whereas we Humans ca'n't refuse
To grant the interview."

He said "A flutter of alarm
Is not unnatural, is it?
I really feared you meant some harm:
But, now I see that you are calm,
Let me explain my visit.

"Houses are classed, I beg to state,
According to the number
Of Ghosts that they accommodate:
(The Tenant merely counts as WEIGHT,
With Coals and other lumber).

"This is a 'one-ghost' house, and you
When you arrived last summer,
May have remarked a Spectre who
Was doing all that Ghosts can do
To welcome the new-comer.

"In Villas this is always done -
However cheaply rented:
For, though of course there's less of fun
When there is only room for one,
Ghosts have to be contented.

"That Spectre left you on the Third -
Since then you've not been haunted:
For, as he never sent us word,
'Twas quite by accident we heard
That any one was wanted.

"A Spectre has first choice, by right,
In filling up a vacancy;
Then Phantom, Goblin, Elf, and Sprite -
If all these fail them, they invite
The nicest Ghoul that they can see.

"The Spectres said the place was low,
And that you kept bad wine:
So, as a Phantom had to go,
And I was first, of course, you know,
I couldn't well decline."

"No doubt," said I, "they settled who
Was fittest to be sent
Yet still to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
Was no great compliment!"

"I'm not so young, Sir," he replied,
"As you might think. The fact is,
In caverns by the water-side,
And other places that I've tried,
I've had a lot of practice:

"But I have never taken yet
A strict domestic part,
And in my flurry I forget
The Five Good Rules of Etiquette
We have to know by heart."

My sympathies were warming fast
Towards the little fellow:
He was so utterly aghast
At having found a Man at last,
And looked so scared and yellow.

"At least," I said, "I'm glad to find
A Ghost is not a DUMB thing!
But pray sit down: you'll feel inclined
(If, like myself, you have not dined)
To take a snack of something:

"Though, certainly, you don't appear
A thing to offer FOOD to!
And then I shall be glad to hear -
If you will say them loud and clear -
The Rules that you allude to."

"Thanks! You shall hear them by and by.
This IS a piece of luck!"
"What may I offer you?" said I.
"Well, since you ARE so kind, I'll try
A little bit of duck.

"ONE slice! And may I ask you for
Another drop of gravy?"
I sat and looked at him in awe,
For certainly I never saw
A thing so white and wavy.

And still he seemed to grow more white,
More vapoury, and wavier -
Seen in the dim and flickering light,
As he proceeded to recite
His "Maxims of Behaviour."



CANTO II--Hys Fyve Rules



"My First--but don't suppose," he said,
"I'm setting you a riddle -
Is--if your Victim be in bed,
Don't touch the curtains at his head,
But take them in the middle,

"And wave them slowly in and out,
While drawing them asunder;
And in a minute's time, no doubt,
He'll raise his head and look about
With eyes of wrath and wonder.

"And here you must on no pretence
Make the first observation.
Wait for the Victim to commence:
No Ghost of any common sense
Begins a conversation.

"If he should say 'HOW CAME YOU HERE?'
(The way that YOU began, Sir,)
In such a case your course is clear -
'ON THE BAT'S BACK, MY LITTLE DEAR!'
Is the appropriate answer.

"If after this he says no more,
You'd best perhaps curtail your
Exertions--go and shake the door,
And then, if he begins to snore,
You'll know the thing's a failure.

"By day, if he should be alone -
At home or on a walk -
You merely give a hollow groan,
To indicate the kind of tone
In which you mean to talk.

"But if you find him with his friends,
The thing is rather harder.
In such a case success depends
On picking up some candle-ends,
Or butter, in the larder.

"With this you make a kind of slide
(It answers best with suet),
On which you must contrive to glide,
And swing yourself from side to side -
One soon learns how to do it.

"The Second tells us what is right
In ceremonious calls:-
'FIRST BURN A BLUE OR CRIMSON LIGHT'
(A thing I quite forgot to-night),
'THEN SCRATCH THE DOOR OR WALLS.'"

I said "You'll visit HERE no more,
If you attempt the Guy.
I'll have no bonfires on MY floor -
And, as for scratching at the door,
I'd like to see you try!"

"The Third was written to protect
The interests of the Victim,
And tells us, as I recollect,
TO TREAT HIM WITH A GRAVE RESPECT,
AND NOT TO CONTRADICT HIM."

"That's plain," said I, "as Tare and Tret,
To any comprehension:
I only wish SOME Ghosts I've met
Would not so CONSTANTLY forget
The maxim that you mention!"

"Perhaps," he said, "YOU first transgressed
The laws of hospitality:
All Ghosts instinctively detest
The Man that fails to treat his guest
With proper cordiality.

"If you address a Ghost as 'Thing!'
Or strike him with a hatchet,
He is permitted by the King
To drop all FORMAL parleying -
And then you're SURE to catch it!

"The Fourth prohibits trespassing
Where other Ghosts are quartered:
And those convicted of the thing
(Unless when pardoned by the King)
Must instantly be slaughtered.

"That simply means 'be cut up small':
Ghosts soon unite anew.
The process scarcely hurts at all -
Not more than when YOU're what you call
'Cut up' by a Review.

"The Fifth is one you may prefer
That I should quote entire:-
THE KING MUST BE ADDRESSED AS 'SIR.'
THIS, FROM A SIMPLE COURTIER,
IS ALL THE LAWS REQUIRE:

"BUT, SHOULD YOU WISH TO DO THE THING
WITH OUT-AND-OUT POLITENESS,
ACCOST HIM AS 'MY GOBLIN KING!
AND ALWAYS USE, IN ANSWERING,
THE PHRASE 'YOUR ROYAL WHITENESS!'

"I'm getting rather hoarse, I fear,
After so much reciting :
So, if you don't object, my dear,
We'll try a glass of bitter beer -
I think it looks inviting."



CANTO III--Scarmoges



"And did you really walk," said I,
"On such a wretched night?
I always fancied Ghosts could fly -
If not exactly in the sky,
Yet at a fairish height."

"It's very well," said he, "for Kings
To soar above the earth:
But Phantoms often find that wings -
Like many other pleasant things -
Cost more than they are worth.

"Spectres of course are rich, and so
Can buy them from the Elves:
But WE prefer to keep below -
They're stupid company, you know,
For any but themselves:

"For, though they claim to be exempt
From pride, they treat a Phantom
As something quite beneath contempt -
Just as no Turkey ever dreamt
Of noticing a Bantam."

"They seem too proud," said I, "to go
To houses such as mine.
Pray, how did they contrive to know
So quickly that 'the place was low,'
And that I 'kept bad wine'?"

"Inspector Kobold came to you--"
The little Ghost began.
Here I broke in--"Inspector who?
Inspecting Ghosts is something new!
Explain yourself, my man!"

"His name is Kobold," said my guest:
"One of the Spectre order:
You'll very often see him dressed
In a yellow gown, a crimson vest,
And a night-cap with a border.

"He tried the Brocken business first,
But caught a sort of chill ;
So came to England to be nursed,
And here it took the form of THIRST,
Which he complains of still.

"Port-wine, he says, when rich and sound,
Warms his old bones like nectar:
And as the inns, where it is found,
Are his especial hunting-ground,
We call him the INN-SPECTRE."

I bore it--bore it like a man -
This agonizing witticism!
And nothing could be sweeter than
My temper, till the Ghost began
Some most provoking criticism.

"Cooks need not be indulged in waste;
Yet still you'd better teach them
Dishes should have SOME SORT of taste.
Pray, why are all the cruets placed
Where nobody can reach them?

"That man of yours will never earn
His living as a waiter!
Is that queer THING supposed to burn?
(It's far too dismal a concern
To call a Moderator).

"The duck was tender, but the peas
Were very much too old:
And just remember, if you please,
The NEXT time you have toasted cheese,
Don't let them send it cold.

"You'd find the bread improved, I think,
By getting better flour:
And have you anything to drink
That looks a LITTLE less like ink,
And isn't QUITE so sour?"

Then, peering round with curious eyes,
He muttered "Goodness gracious!"
And so went on to criticise -
"Your room's an inconvenient size:
It's neither snug nor spacious.

"That narrow window, I expect,
Serves but to let the dusk in--"
"But please," said I, "to recollect
'Twas fashioned by an architect
Who pinned his faith on Ruskin!"

"I don't care who he was, Sir, or
On whom he pinned his faith!
Constructed by whatever law,
So poor a job I never saw,
As I'm a living Wraith!

"What a re-markable cigar!
How much are they a dozen?"
I growled "No matter what they are!
You're getting as familiar
As if you were my cousin!

"Now that's a thing _I_ WILL NOT STAND,
And so I tell you flat."
"Aha," said he, "we're getting grand!"
(Taking a bottle in his hand)
"I'll soon arrange for THAT!"

And here he took a careful aim,
And gaily cried "Here goes!"
I tried to dodge it as it came,
But somehow caught it, all the same,
Exactly on my nose.

And I remember nothing more
That I can clearly fix,
Till I was sitting on the floor,
Repeating "Two and five are four,
But FIVE AND TWO are six."

What really passed I never learned,
Nor guessed: I only know
That, when at last my sense returned,
The lamp, neglected, dimly burned -
The fire was getting low -

Through driving mists I seemed to see
A Thing that smirked and smiled:
And found that he was giving me
A lesson in Biography,
As if I were a child.



CANTO IV--Hys Nouryture



"Oh, when I was a little Ghost,
A merry time had we!
Each seated on his favourite post,
We chumped and chawed the buttered toast
They gave us for our tea."

"That story is in print!" I cried.
"Don't say it's not, because
It's known as well as Bradshaw's Guide!"
(The Ghost uneasily replied
He hardly thought it was).

"It's not in Nursery Rhymes? And yet
I almost think it is -
'Three little Ghosteses' were set
'On posteses,' you know, and ate
Their 'buttered toasteses.'

"I have the book; so if you doubt it--"
I turned to search the shelf.
"Don't stir!" he cried. "We'll do without it:
I now remember all about it;
I wrote the thing myself.

"It came out in a 'Monthly,' or
At least my agent said it did:
Some literary swell, who saw
It, thought it seemed adapted for
The Magazine he edited.

"My father was a Brownie, Sir;
My mother was a Fairy.
The notion had occurred to her,
The children would be happier,
If they were taught to vary.

"The notion soon became a craze;
And, when it once began, she
Brought us all out in different ways -
One was a Pixy, two were Fays,
Another was a Banshee;

"The Fetch and Kelpie went to school
And gave a lot of trouble;
Next came a Poltergeist and Ghoul,
And then two Trolls (which broke the rule),
A Goblin, and a Double -

"(If that's a snuff-box on the shelf,"
He added with a yawn,
"I'll take a pinch)--next came an Elf,
And then a Phantom (that's myself),
And last, a Leprechaun.

"One day, some Spectres chanced to call,
Dressed in the usual white:
I stood and watched them in the hall,
And couldn't make them out at all,
They seemed so strange a sight.

"I wondered what on earth they were,
That looked all head and sack;
But Mother told me not to stare,
And then she twitched me by the hair,
And punched me in the back.

"Since then I've often wished that I
Had been a Spectre born.
But what's the use?" (He heaved a sigh.)
"THEY are the ghost-nobility,
And look on US with scorn.

"My phantom-life was soon begun:
When I was barely six,
I went out with an older one -
And just at first I thought it fun,
And learned a lot of tricks.

"I've haunted dungeons, castles, towers -
Wherever I was sent:
I've often sat and howled for hours,
Drenched to the skin with driving showers,
Upon a battlement.

"It's quite old-fashioned now to groan
When you begin to speak:
This is the newest thing in tone--"
And here (it chilled me to the bone)
He gave an AWFUL squeak.

"Perhaps," he added, "to YOUR ear
That sounds an easy thing?
Try it yourself, my little dear!
It took ME something like a year,
With constant practising.

"And when you've learned to squeak, my man,
And caught the double sob,
You're pretty much where you began:
Just try and gibber if you can!
That's something LIKE a job!

"I'VE tried it, and can only say
I'm sure you couldn't do it, e-
ven if you practised night and day,
Unless you have a turn that way,
And natural ingenuity.

"Shakspeare I think it is who treats
Of Ghosts, in days of old,
Who 'gibbered in the Roman streets,'
Dressed, if you recollect, in sheets -
They must have found it cold.

"I've often spent ten pounds on stuff,
In dressing as a Double;
But, though it answers as a puff,
It never has effect enough
To make it worth the trouble.

"Long bills soon quenched the little thirst
I had for being funny.
The setting-up is always worst:
Such heaps of things you want at first,
One must be made of money!

"For instance, take a Haunted Tower,
With skull, cross-bones, and sheet;
Blue lights to burn (say) two an hour,
Condensing lens of extra power,
And set of chains complete:

"What with the things you have to hire -
The fitting on the robe -
And testing all the coloured fire -
The outfit of itself would tire
The patience of a Job!

"And then they're so fastidious,
The Haunted-House Committee:
I've often known them make a fuss
Because a Ghost was French, or Russ,
Or even from the City!

"Some dialects are objected to -
For one, the IRISH brogue is:
And then, for all you have to do,
One pound a week they offer you,
And find yourself in Bogies!



CANTO V--Byckerment



"Don't they consult the 'Victims,' though?"
I said. "They should, by rights,
Give them a chance--because, you know,
The tastes of people differ so,
Especially in Sprites."

The Phantom shook his head and smiled.
"Consult them? Not a bit!
'Twould be a job to drive one wild,
To satisfy one single child -
There'd be no end to it!"

"Of course you can't leave CHILDREN free,"
Said I, "to pick and choose:
But, in the case of men like me,
I think 'Mine Host' might fairly be
Allowed to state his views."

He said "It really wouldn't pay -
Folk are so full of fancies.
We visit for a single day,
And whether then we go, or stay,
Depends on circumstances.

"And, though we don't consult 'Mine Host'
Before the thing's arranged,
Still, if he often quits his post,
Or is not a well-mannered Ghost,
Then you can have him changed.

"But if the host's a man like you -
I mean a man of sense;
And if the house is not too new--"
"Why, what has THAT," said I, "to do
With Ghost's convenience?"

"A new house does not suit, you know -
It's such a job to trim it:
But, after twenty years or so,
The wainscotings begin to go,
So twenty is the limit."

"To trim" was not a phrase I could
Remember having heard:
"Perhaps," I said, "you'll be so good
As tell me what is understood
Exactly by that word?"

"It means the loosening all the doors,"
The Ghost replied, and laughed:
"It means the drilling holes by scores
In all the skirting-boards and floors,
To make a thorough draught.

"You'll sometimes find that one or two
Are all you really need
To let the wind come whistling through -
But HERE there'll be a lot to do!"
I faintly gasped "Indeed!

"If I'd been rather later, I'll
Be bound," I added, trying
(Most unsuccessfully) to smile,
"You'd have been busy all this while,
Trimming and beautifying?"

"Why, no," said he; "perhaps I should
Have stayed another minute -
But still no Ghost, that's any good,
Without an introduction would
Have ventured to begin it.

"The proper thing, as you were late,
Was certainly to go:
But, with the roads in such a state,
I got the Knight-Mayor's leave to wait
For half an hour or so."

"Who's the Knight-Mayor?" I cried. Instead
Of answering my question,
"Well, if you don't know THAT," he said,
"Either you never go to bed,
Or you've a grand digestion!

"He goes about and sits on folk
That eat too much at night:
His duties are to pinch, and poke,
And squeeze them till they nearly choke."
(I said "It serves them right!")

"And folk who sup on things like these--"
He muttered, "eggs and bacon -
Lobster--and duck--and toasted cheese -
If they don't get an awful squeeze,
I'm very much mistaken!

"He is immensely fat, and so
Well suits the occupation:
In point of fact, if you must know,
We used to call him years ago,
THE MAYOR AND CORPORATION!

"The day he was elected Mayor
I KNOW that every Sprite meant
To vote for ME, but did not dare -
He was so frantic with despair
And furious with excitement.

"When it was over, for a whim,
He ran to tell the King;
And being the reverse of slim,
A two-mile trot was not for him
A very easy thing.

"So, to reward him for his run
(As it was baking hot,
And he was over twenty stone),
The King proceeded, half in fun,
To knight him on the spot."

"'Twas a great liberty to take!"
(I fired up like a rocket).
"He did it just for punning's sake:
'The man,' says Johnson, 'that would make
A pun, would pick a pocket!'"

"A man," said he, "is not a King."
I argued for a while,
And did my best to prove the thing -
The Phantom merely listening
With a contemptuous smile.

At last, when, breath and patience spent,
I had recourse to smoking -
"Your AIM," he said, "is excellent:
But--when you call it ARGUMENT -
Of course you're only joking?"

Stung by his cold and snaky eye,
I roused myself at length
To say "At least I do defy
The veriest sceptic to deny
That union is strength!"

"That's true enough," said he, "yet stay--"
I listened in all meekness -
"UNION is strength, I'm bound to say;
In fact, the thing's as clear as day;
But ONIONS are a weakness."



CANTO VI--Dyscomfyture



As one who strives a hill to climb,
Who never climbed before:
Who finds it, in a little time,
Grow every moment less sublime,
And votes the thing a bore:

Yet, having once begun to try,
Dares not desert his quest,
But, climbing, ever keeps his eye
On one small hut against the sky
Wherein he hopes to rest:

Who climbs till nerve and force are spent,
With many a puff and pant:
Who still, as rises the ascent,
In language grows more violent,
Although in breath more scant:

Who, climbing, gains at length the place
That crowns the upward track.
And, entering with unsteady pace,
Receives a buffet in the face
That lands him on his back:

And feels himself, like one in sleep,
Glide swiftly down again,
A helpless weight, from steep to steep,
Till, with a headlong giddy sweep,
He drops upon the plain -

So I, that had resolved to bring
Conviction to a ghost,
And found it quite a different thing
From any human arguing,
Yet dared not quit my post

But, keeping still the end in view
To which I hoped to come,
I strove to prove the matter true
By putting everything I knew
Into an axiom:

Commencing every single phrase
With 'therefore' or 'because,'
I blindly reeled, a hundred ways,
About the syllogistic maze,
Unconscious where I was.

Quoth he "That's regular clap-trap:
Don't bluster any more.
Now DO be cool and take a nap!
Such a ridiculous old chap
Was never seen before!

"You're like a man I used to meet,
Who got one day so furious
In arguing, the simple heat
Scorched both his slippers off his feet!"
I said "THAT'S VERY CURIOUS!"

"Well, it IS curious, I agree,
And sounds perhaps like fibs:
But still it's true as true can be -
As sure as your name's Tibbs," said he.
I said "My name's NOT Tibbs."

"NOT Tibbs!" he cried--his tone became
A shade or two less hearty -
"Why, no," said I. "My proper name
Is Tibbets--" "Tibbets?" "Aye, the same."
"Why, then YOU'RE NOT THE PARTY!"

With that he struck the board a blow
That shivered half the glasses.
"Why couldn't you have told me so
Three quarters of an hour ago,
You prince of all the asses?

"To walk four miles through mud and rain,
To spend the night in smoking,
And then to find that it's in vain -
And I've to do it all again -
It's really TOO provoking!

"Don't talk!" he cried, as I began
To mutter some excuse.
"Who can have patience with a man
That's got no more discretion than
An idiotic goose?

"To keep me waiting here, instead
Of telling me at once
That this was not the house!" he said.
"There, that'll do--be off to bed!
Don't gape like that, you dunce!"

"It's very fine to throw the blame
On ME in such a fashion!
Why didn't you enquire my name
The very minute that you came?"
I answered in a passion.

"Of course it worries you a bit
To come so far on foot -
But how was _I_ to blame for it?"
"Well, well!" said he. "I must admit
That isn't badly put.

"And certainly you've given me
The best of wine and victual -
Excuse my violence," said he,
"But accidents like this, you see,
They put one out a little.

"'Twas MY fault after all, I find -
Shake hands, old Turnip-top!"
The name was hardly to my mind,
But, as no doubt he meant it kind,
I let the matter drop.

"Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!
When I am gone, perhaps
They'll send you some inferior Sprite,
Who'll keep you in a constant fright
And spoil your soundest naps.

"Tell him you'll stand no sort of trick;
Then, if he leers and chuckles,
You just be handy with a stick
(Mind that it's pretty hard and thick)
And rap him on the knuckles!

"Then carelessly remark 'Old coon!
Perhaps you're not aware
That, if you don't behave, you'll soon
Be chuckling to another tune -
And so you'd best take care!'

"That's the right way to cure a Sprite
Of such like goings-on -
But gracious me! It's getting light!
Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!"
A nod, and he was gone.



CANTO VII--Sad Souvenaunce



"What's this?" I pondered. "Have I slept?
Or can I have been drinking?"
But soon a gentler feeling crept
Upon me, and I sat and wept
An hour or so, like winking.

"No need for Bones to hurry so!"
I sobbed. "In fact, I doubt
If it was worth his while to go -
And who is Tibbs, I'd like to know,
To make such work about?

"If Tibbs is anything like me,
It's POSSIBLE," I said,
"He won't be over-pleased to be
Dropped in upon at half-past three,
After he's snug in bed.

"And if Bones plagues him anyhow -
Squeaking and all the rest of it,
As he was doing here just now -
_I_ prophesy there'll be a row,
And Tibbs will have the best of it!"

Then, as my tears could never bring
The friendly Phantom back,
It seemed to me the proper thing
To mix another glass, and sing
The following Coronach.

'AND ART THOU GONE, BELOVED GHOST?
BEST OF FAMILIARS!
NAY THEN, FAREWELL, MY DUCKLING ROAST,
FAREWELL, FAREWELL, MY TEA AND TOAST,
MY MEERSCHAUM AND CIGARS!

THE HUES OF LIFE ARE DULL AND GRAY,
THE SWEETS OF LIFE INSIPID,
WHEN thou, MY CHARMER, ART AWAY -
OLD BRICK, OR RATHER, LET ME SAY,
OLD PARALLELEPIPED!'

Instead of singing Verse the Third,
I ceased--abruptly, rather:
But, after such a splendid word
I felt that it would be absurd
To try it any farther.

So with a yawn I went my way
To seek the welcome downy,
And slept, and dreamed till break of day
Of Poltergeist and Fetch and Fay
And Leprechaun and Brownie!

For year I've not been visited
By any kind of Sprite;
Yet still they echo in my head,
Those parting words, so kindly said,
"Old Turnip-top, good-night!

34jbbarret
Fév 2, 2013, 11:03am

The Way Through The Woods
by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods….
But there is no road through the woods.

35SimonW11
Fév 2, 2013, 8:21pm

The Way Through The Woods
was a handwriting exercise for me. I wrote it often enought to memorise it.