Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)


What are these nameless mysteries,
These subtleties of life and death,
That bring before our spirit eyes
The loved and lost; or, like a breath
Of lightest air, will touch the cheek,
And yet a wordless language speak?

In every breeze that blows, to-day,
One voice seems speaking unto me;
And north or south, whichever way
I turn my gaze, one face I see,
And closely, closely at my side
A mystic shadow seems to glide.

A motley crowd we move among,
We surge on with the mighty mass,
And yet no one in all the throng
Looks strangely on us as we pass.
No eye but mine own seems to see
The nameless thing that walks by me.

I cannot touch a proffered hand
But this strange shadow glides between.
Why came he from the spirit land?
What brought him from the world unseen?
Why am I troubled and oppressed
By the vague presence of my guest?

He was my friend! I should rejoice!
I loved him once! Why do I fear?
And yet I shudder as his voice
Speaks in the wind. I feel him near,
This restless spirit of the dead,
And shiver with a nameless dread.

I loved him once; he was my friend;
He held the first place in my heart,
And might have held it to the end.
But our two ways spread wide apart:
I kept the path upon the hill,
And he went down and down, until

He reached the depths of sin and shame,
And died as sots and drunkards die.
I ceased to even speak his name.
God knows I never thought that I,
Who blamed his lack of moral strength,
Might answer for his fall, at length!

O restless dead, lost friend of mine!
I might have saved you, had I tried.
I saw you lift the glass of wine,
And, seeing, had I warned you, cried,
'Touch not, taste not the drink accursed!'
I might have saved you from the thirst

That swallowed up your brain and soul.
But nay! I scorned you when you fell,
And, looking upward to my goal,
Left you to stagger down to hell.
Accusing spirit of the dead,
Your presence fills my heart with dread!

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Haunted by Ella Wheeler Wilcox )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Friendship Can Grow No More (Secret Mess.., Ronald Chapman
  2. Friends, Ronald Chapman
  3. Friend Or A Lover?, Ronald Chapman
  4. Friday Date Night (Acrostic Poetry), Ronald Chapman
  5. Silence, Cheryl Griffith
  6. Freedom Is! (Regional Korea), Ronald Chapman
  7. a Poem Born in July, ronald stroman
  8. Peace, Jack Rolph
  9. Forget It! (Writers Block), Ronald Chapman
  10. Rapture, John Lars Zwerenz

Poem of the Day

poet Wilfred Owen

All sounds have been as music to my listening:
Pacific lamentations of slow bells,
The crunch of boots on blue snow rosy-glistening,
Shuffle of autumn leaves; and all farewells:

...... Read complete »

[Hata Bildir]