Orlando Belo

Compromise

We moved into a Georgian house in Derby.
It was old, empty, large, and quaint.
Its location was ideal for work, schools, and family,
even though it needed renovating and a lot of paint.

We decided we would first get to know the house,
and learn how it and we could best fit in.
The important tasks we could tackle immediately,
like broken fixtures, electricity, and plumbing.

Our bedrooms were selected and made comfortable,
the furniture and bedding had been put in place.
After the first week, a ‘to do' list had been written,
and the tick offs began in in haste.

During the latter part of the first week,
we heard noises that we thought was the plumbing.
So, I bled the piping and radiators of excess air,
which stopped the gurgling, banging, and drumming.

At half-past one in the morning of the second week,
a loud knocking noise woke up everyone.
I got out of bed, turned on the lights and searched,
where I thought the knocking was coming from.

It was coming from an unused bedroom
I had looked at several times before,
I considered it to be a potential study,
when I was free to fix the unstable floor.

I tried to enter, but the door would not open,
but the key was on the inside.
I went to check on the children to see if they were in bed.
They were, and my wife was now standing by my side.

I explained to her the situation and
we returned to the locked bedroom door.
Surprisingly, the door handle managed to turn,
which made me feel uneasy and quite insecure.

With my wife now standing behind me,
I cautiously opened the door.
Before it was fully opened I could see,
things I had never seen before.

Without thinking I quickly closed the door.
The wife grasped my arm and anxiously asked me,
what I had seen to make me quickly shut the door,
so I told her there were things she shouldn't see.

She told me not to be silly and to step out of the way,
so I moved, and she cautiously cracked open the door,
she could see objects floating below the ceiling,
and an old man sitting carving clogs on the floor.

She too quickly closed the door and stepped back,
and asked me what we should do.
"Did you see that old man? He's a ghost, " she said,
"and he's making a wooden shoe."

I said, "I only saw the floating things."
"But what are we going to do? " she said,
"we can't just ignore what we have seen,
are our children safe in their bed?

You will have to go into the bedroom
and tell him that he has to go.
Tell him he is a ghost and he should not be here,
and it is a fact that he ought to know."

I took a deep breath and entered the room,
and dodged a floating picture and ornament.
He stopped hitting his chisel with the mallet,
and gave me a look of contempt.

"Why have you disturbed me? " said the ghost,
as all the floating objects hit the floor.
I asked him if he knew that he was a ghost,
he said, "Yes, now go away and shut the door."

"I am sorry, but I just cannot do that,
your shoe making is keeping us from our sleep.
Could you not do your work in the daytime,
on the days of Monday to Friday each week? "

"And why should I do that, " he said,
"I have lived in this house a lot longer than you.
If you are not happy living here, move out,
there is nothing more to say or do."

"Wait a minute, " I said, "you have no rights you are dead.
You should have moved on when you passed away.
You cannot expect my family and I to up sticks and leave,
just because you are content and want to stay.

Of course, I would rather you leave voluntarily,
If you don't I will get you exorcised.
So why don't you find the light, and step through it,
and spend the rest of eternity in paradise? "

"I don't want to go to paradise,
this house is paradise for me.
But I will agree to doing my work in the daylight hours,
and have weekends off, for the cause of harmony."

"So you are agreeing to co-habit this property,
and not to disturb us during the dark hours? "
"Yes, so long as you don't use this room, its mine,
but I suppose we could consider it ours."

Topic(s) of this poem: life and death

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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