Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

The Phantom Ball


You remember the hall on the corner?
To-night as I walked down street
I heard the sound of music,
And the rhythmic beat and beat,
In time to the pulsing measure
Of lightly tripping feet.


And I turned and entered the doorway-
It was years since I had been there-
Years, and life seemed altered:
Pleasure had changed to care.
But again I was hearing the music
And watching the dancers fair.


And then, as I stood and listened,
The music lost its glee;
And instead of the merry waltzers
There were ghosts of the Used-to-be-
Ghosts of the pleasure-seekers
Who once had danced with me.


Oh, 'twas a ghastly picture!
Oh, 'twas a gruesome crowd!
Each bearing a skull on his shoulder,
Each trailing a long white shroud,
As they whirled in the dance together,
And the music shrieked aloud.


As they danced, their dry bones rattled
Like shutters in a blast;
And they stared from eyeless sockets
On me as they circled past;
And the music that kept them whirling
Was a funeral dirge played fast.


Some of them wore their face-cloths,
Others were rotted away.
Some had mould on their garments,
And some seemed dead but a day.
Corpses all, but I knew them
As friends, once blithe and gay.


Beauty and strength and manhood-
And this was the end of it all:
Nothing but phantoms whirling
In a ghastly skeleton ball.
But the music ceased-and they vanished,
And I came away from the hall.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

Form:


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 (The Phantom Ball by Ella Wheeler Wilcox )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  3. If, Rudyard Kipling
  4. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  5. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. Love After Love, Derek Walcott
  8. A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns
  9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  10. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou

Poem of the Day

poet Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ our Lord


I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Ada Cambridge

 

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Exercises Of The Mind, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  2. Accounting For Passion, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  3. Poetry, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  4. The Best Is To Forget, Shalom Freedman
  5. Esta noche, Sergio Jaime
  6. My Pen Is Happy, King Happy
  7. All of The Above, King Happy
  8. In a Minute, King Happy
  9. Knowing and accepting, gajanan mishra
  10. Lady of Enigma, NimmyMAry Kurian
[Hata Bildir]