Ghost Story by J.G. Warry

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For close on forty years I have pursued
The ghost of my personality
Down endless corridors of a castle
Unsuccessfully.

If I could catch him, I wonder,
By the hem of his fading gown
Would he turn and show me a mystery
Or with a silent frown

Repudiate the beckoning finger
Which often at the angle of a stair
Invited me to a solemn tete-a-tete —
Always elsewhere?

When the clock is stirring the shadows
Anxiously I raise
My eyes to the darkened gallery,
Wondering if his face

Closely resembles my face.
And if in fact it does not,
Would I really care to confront him
In a lonely spot?

Who is the owner of the castle?
Is it the ghost or I?
And if the walls suddenly crumble
Under the night sky

Will the place still be haunted?
Or shall I stand alone
Beneath the moon, with the fragments
Of powdered stone?


This poem originally appeared in The London Magazine in June 1960

Transcribed by Anna Červenková