Halloween just seems to bring out the poet in me. Here’s another one that was inspired by a program I watched one night about haunted hotels. An owner of a B&B claimed there was a ghost named Ed that she’d see walking up and down the halls and sometimes she’d say “Good night Ed!” and he’d turn and look at her. I wondered what he was thinking.
Ghost Of The Watertown Bed & Breakfast
Touch sparks to wet bones. Watch them dance. That’s how this feels.
All night Ed walks up and down the hall. In recent years
He’s become an anomaly, an attraction, a circle of cold.
For hours he concentrates on the frozen candles that hold the night
Away. There’s a place he’s supposed to be, but both ends of the hall
Are blocked. Not even his feet sound the floor. The well-fed guests
Sleep in their rooms, except for one who, unaware of the presence
Outside the door, watches a star move across the sky.
Ed is in his shirtsleeves always now. It was evening when
He closed his book and came up here. He wasn’t going to bed
Just yet. It was a quiet evening in the spring. The house
Had guests in it then too. He’s forgotten which room was his,
And thinks that’s what’s wrong, but can’t remember. The rooms
All seem occupied now, and no one speaks to him in a way
That makes him think he knows them. The ones who come through
Drag trails of themselves along, and are so fast
They slip away when he tries to speak. Their voices too
Are murky, but sometimes when the air is thick and he moves
Through it less easily he can hear them. A woman screamed
One night that someone was in her room standing over
Her. It’s said now that Ed enters the rooms. He’s heard
This, and it baffles him. All the doors are locked
To him, and he never stands still, not until the sun
Rolls in through the East window and fills the hall
With blood and fire. What’s after that he can’t remember.
Here’s a crude video version I made. I wish I could draw better. Also animation is hard.
An enigmatic piece of work here. Enjoyed it more when I listened to it and then appreciated the written version much more. The animation is fine – arty – adds a atmosphere. Really enjoyed this – a good discussion piece for a group.
I hadn’t thought of it as a good discussion piece for a group, although when I read it in coffee shops people always seemed to respond well to it. And thank you for liking the animation.
What an interesting concept—imagining how a ghost, who is confused enough as it is, feels knowing others are saying strange things about him. The trapped, repetitive meandering that gets him nowhere closer to where he thinks he should be reminds me of how being depressed feels. Yikes!
I hadn’t thought of it being like depression, but, wow, I can really see that now. After I wrote it I felt I was at least partly influenced by that scene in Hamlet where the ghost of Hamlet’s father says he walks the castle by night but spends the day in “sulph’rous and tormenting flames”. At least Ed gets a respite and simply fades away during daylight.
Like Margot, I feel sorry for Ed. And like Gilly, I really enjoyed this as well. I think I may actually be getting into the Halloween spirit (with what, only a few days left of October?). 🙂
There’s no better time to get into the Halloween spirit since it’s really only the last day of the month! And while I spend eleven months of the year getting ready for a month-long orgy of madness and the macabre I really keep it pent up. Once November rolls in I put away the Halloween stuff.
My comment was going to be, “Now I feel sorry for Ed” but I see that others have beaten me to it. Thanks for making me sad for a ghost Christopher! I’m at work so I can’t even have a glass of wine or anything to take the edge off the sadness.
(Actually I’m fine, but it really is a sad poem).
Here–this will take an edge of the sadness. Ed gets his revenge on the living.
Anything I say here will be a mere ghost of my admiration of your work.
Ghosts are greatly underappreciated.