Alfred Noyes

(16 September 1880 – 25 June 1958 / Wolverhamton)

The Ghost Of The New World


'_There are no ghosts in America._'


There are no ghosts, you say,
To haunt her blaze of light;
No shadows in her day,
No phantoms in her night.
Columbus' tattered sail
Has passed beyond our hail.

What? On that magic coast,
Where Raleigh fought with fate,
Or where that Devon ghost
Unbarred the Golden Gate,
No dark, strange, ear-ringed men
Beat in from sea again?

No ghosts in Salem town
With silver buckled shoon?
No lovely witch to drown
Or burn beneath the moon?
Not even a whiff of tea,
On Boston's glimmering quay.

O, ghostly Spanish walls,
Where brown Franciscans glide,
Is there no voice that calls
Across the Great Divide,
To pilgrims on their way
Along the Santa Fe?

Then let your Pullman cars
Go roaring to the West,
Till, watched by lonelier stars,
The cactus lifts its crest.
There, on that painted plain,
One ghost will rise again.

Majestic and forlorn,
Wreck of a dying race,
The Red Man, half in scorn,
Shall raise his haughty face,
Inscrutable as the sky,
To watch our ghosts go by.

What? Is earth dreaming still?
Shall not the night disgorge
The ghosts of Bunker Hill
The ghosts of Valley Forge,
Or, England's mightiest son,
The ghost of Washington?

No ghosts where Lincoln fell?
No ghosts for seeing eyes?
I know an old cracked bell
Shall make ten million rise
When one immortal ghost
Calls to the slumbering host.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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