Sepsis

Who are these shadows?
The thundering train
Whose rattlings roar
Through my pages again.

Whence came the ladies
In bombazine skirts
To tut at my bedside
And shush when it hurts?

Why must I see them
When others do not?
When fever starts soaring
My visitors flock

All measure of ‘ill’
May be summed in a word:
Delirium –
Visions.  Increasing.  Absurd.

 

A Haunting Spot

I smiled at the man who had turned up to tea,
Though out of the blue he’d appeared.
He seemed wistful and sad when he sat beside me,
When I spoke to him, he turned and stared.
So I plucked up my courage, began to relate
All the funny events of my day.
And as he braved a smile, so the breeze did pick up
‘Til the willows were starting to sway.
Then how we both laughed, at the ways of the world.
I was pleased that my tales made him grin.
And we stayed sitting there, on a bench in the cold
As the evening was drawing in.
Then he turned with a sigh and his primary air
And remarked at how sorry he felt
That I soon would be leaving him lonely out there
As he spoke such words, my heart did melt.
For he looked in my eyes and the fondness I saw there
Did take all my breath quite away.
And he thanked me for letting him share in my life
For he’d had a most pleas’rable day.
And as it grew dark and we walked hand in hand,
He turned one last time and we kissed.
Then I opened my eyes to the streetlamps aglow
As my handsome young man turned to mist.
I was terrified, sure, as I ran for the door
For my beau had dissolved in my arms.
And I never, not once, had expected to find
Him a phantom, of such mortal charms.
Now I often do sit by myself for a bit
On the bench we shared, down by the stream.
But never again has he come for a chat
And I wonder now, was it a dream?

Nighttime conversations

Sometimes I talk to spirits that come in while I’m asleep.
It must get lonely as a ghost, quite often they will weep.
But others tell me stories of far-off distant lands.
Of things they did while of the earth; how life is hard to plan.
I listen to adventures, hear books I’ve never read,
But somehow upon waking this gets trapped inside my head.
It’s hard to talk to people – they rarely want to hear.
Some smile and nod, but mostly they just run away in fear.
When young, I used to wonder why all adults told lies.
They’d swear to me they couldn’t see what’s right before their eyes.
But now as I grow older, I understand their fear –
If they admit they see them, then they must exist, my dear.
And if, in truth, these beings are trapped here once they’re gone –
Perhaps in time we too will share their fate, go on and on.
Yet still it seems a pity, with wisdom they could share,
To tell us not to trust our ears and eyes, or ‘talk to air’.