THE GHOST

Through the open gate of Dreamland
    Came a ghost of long ago, long ago.
When I wakened, all unheeding
Was the phantom to my pleading,
    For he would not turn and go.
But beside me all the day
In my work, and in my play,
    Trod this ghost of long ago, long ago.

Not a vague and pallid phantom
    Was this ghost that came to me, followed me;
Though he rose from regions haunted,
Though he came unbid, unwanted,
    He was very fair to see.
Like the radiant sun in space
Was the halo round the face
    Of that ghost that came to me, followed me.

And he wore no shroud or cerecloth,
    As he wandered at my side, close beside.
He was clothed in royal splendor,
And his eyes were deep and tender,
    While he walked in stately pride.
And he seemed like some great king,
Not afraid of anything,
    As he wandered at my side, close beside.

Then I turned to him, commanding
    That he go the way he came, whence he came;
But he answered me in sorrow,
"May the Past not seek to borrow
    From the Present, without blame,
Just one memory from its store,
Ere it goes to come no more,
    Back the pathway that it came, whence it came?"

Then, ashamed of my full coffers,
    I gave forth from Memory's hold (wondrous hold!)
All I owed of tax, and duty,
For remembered hours of beauty,
    Which I paid in thoughts of gold.
Yet my Present seemed to be,
Richer still for all the fee
    I gave forth from Memory's hold (wondrous hold!)

Poems of Progress and New Thought Pastels. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, W. B. Conkey Co. [c1909].


Back to Poem Index