Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

The Phantom Ball Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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

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

Form:


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 )

There is no comment submitted by members..

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Caged Bird, Maya Angelou
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
[Hata Bildir]