Friday, October 30, 2009

Ghosts



Reprinted from a New Yorker August issue. Poem by David Harsent:


They bring with them a coldness, as tradition demands,
and a light, dry odor of rot
much like worm in wood, and bring a chorus of cries

to fill the air as if it were birdsong, and bring in their open hands
tokens of themselves, a letter, a snapshot,
and bring some trace of their point of departure, a smudge

on the shoe, a stain on the sleeve, and bring the disguise
they lived under, stitched with their names,
hoping you'll give them the nod, hoping you'll recognize

something, perhaps, of the old times, the fun and games,
while they shuffle up as if they stood on the edge
of night so a nudge would tip them over, and bring

a dew of death that settles on picture frames,
on pelmets, on clothes in the closet, on books,
on your eyelash, to make a prism through which you get

a broken image of what must be a stage set
of the Peaceable Kingdom, a front
for that place you only ever find in dreams,

its undrinkable rivers, its scrubland of snarls and hooks,
horizons gone askew,
beasts hamstrung and walking on their hocks,

and bring their long-lost hopes, which they lay at your feet
then stand back, stand apart,
hairless, soft-skinned, their eyes bright blue

like the eyes of a newborn, and bearing a look
of matchless sorrow, as would, for sure,
stop the heart of whoever it is they take you for.

4 comments:

Jewls said...

Awesome pumpkins!! Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest :)

Eva Gallant said...

Eerie!

Deborah said...

I hope you a had a Happy Halloween! The poem was perfect for this holiday! I'll be back to read the post your left today!

kys said...

Great poem for Halloween.