Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GHOSTS, by JOSEPH CAMPBELL



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GHOSTS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The nettle chokes the beaten earth
Last Line: The walls that were their own.
Alternate Author Name(s): Ultach; Maccathmhaoil, Seosamh
Subject(s): Ghosts


The nettle chokes the beaten earth,
The ivy-tree the stone--
The living dead must mind
The walls that were their own.

The living dead must surely mind
The constant stream that spills
Into a granite pool
Between the folding hills.

It twists about, it trickles thro'
And with a hollow sound,
It spills into the pool,
And gurgles underground.

Last night, last night, as I came by
The ruins grey and bare,
I heard a human voice
Make music on the air

For tho' the nettle chokes the earth,
The ivy-tree the stone,
The living dead must mind
The walls that were their own.

I looked, and lo, the driven moon
Hid in a bank of cloud;
And when it shone I saw
A woman in her shroud

She sang, and washed a wooden churn
All in the water white:
Her hair was in the stream,
Her shroud was spun of light.

She washed, and coloured bubbles foamed,
About her fallen hair;
And human laughter rang
Into the icy air.

It seemed the pool was white with feet,
The darkness bright with eyes,
The ruins warm with song,
With laughter and with sighs.

For though the nettle chokes the earth,
The ivy-tree the stone,
The living dead must mind
The walls that were their own.





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