Thursday, March 10, 2011

Living With Ghosts

[image from]

For a prompt for the Poets United Thursday Think Tank: Ghosts

The ghosts go way back.
My mom told of going
upstairs once,
as a girl,
and seeing a woman
standing there,
who disappeared.

A tiny wizened man
with a long white beard
sat on the end of
two little cousins' bed
and pointed a bony finger 
at Ivy.
Three days later,
she died.

At midnight
in the Okanagan,
when the moon is full,
you can hear
horses hoofbeats
galloping down
an empty lane
lined with poplars.
They are the hoofbeats of
a ghostly long-ago
horse and wagon
that galloped invisibly home
after the wagon tipped over
and the men atop it died.

I saw my dad,
after he died,
standing behind
the lunch counter
at Long's Drug Store,
smiling at me,
plain as day.

And, days before he died,
my mother had a vision
of my stepfather,
with his mouth open,
falling to the floor
beside her bed,
exactly as he did
some days later.

I lived in an old store,
inhabited by 
a ghost.
It was the old woman
who had lived and died there,
long before.
She didnt want us in her store,
and made that known.
Midnights, we could
hear her
back and forth
across the floor.
I'd go up to check
and would see no one,
but things
would be rearranged
on the shelves,
and a cold chill
up my spine,
knowing she
was standing
right behind me.

Once the 'wandering jew' plant,
that my grandma said
was such
bad luck,
was swinging wildly in the alcove.
No one was near.
The doors and windows
were closed.
And once, all of its branches
lifted over,
on the same side,
all pointing at the door.
I took it,
one dark and stormy night,
to get rid of it.
It wrapped its tentacles
around me
as we walked together
alongside the road,
but I peeled them off
my arms and legs
and flung it down the bank.

I'd like to say my luck
improved after that
but it didn't.
My life is what has
been given to me
as a consolation prize
for not winning the lottery,
and so I have to love it!

Many many ghosts
have visited
over the years.
My Grandma
visited me
as I rode the bus home
after her funeral,
Galway Bay tinkling through
one side of my brain
and out the other.
Instantly I said,
"Hi Grandma, I love you,"
as she tinkled out and away,
and I knew that it was Grandma,
passing through.

We are Irish,
and so ghosts
are a given.

My mom woke up
one morning
with birds
flapping their wings
in her room,
a sign someone
would die.
She worried it would be
my grandpa.
She got out of bed
and walked down the hall.
The flapping wings
followed her.
That day a co-worker
was shot and killed
in her office.

Once when my kids
were young,
I woke one morning
to see a female ghost
in the corner of my room.
She was smiling at me.
I was not afraid.
I smiled back,
and she faded away.

A lot of things 
have scared me
in my life.
Men, and things
that happened
to my kids.
My father,
when I was young.
But when
friendly female ghosts
crouch in my corners,
I welcome them as friends.

The dead
don't scare me
half as much as
the living.


  1. Wow, you should write about just about your ghost sounds good...I have not seen one except my Grandmother as clear as day in a dream I could feel her and hug her...but then that is what grandma's are for....good one Sherry..bkm

  2. So many Sherry. Wonderful read, I am intrigued. I've had a few visits from my father, mostly in dreams, but not always. I sometimes feel things that I know are other presences, but your list is long and fascinating,


  3. Sherry,
    I've encountered "ghosts," if that is what we call spirits of those deceased. Never in a negative way, always loving and kind. But I believe because I've experienced.

  4. Sherry, totally agree with the ending.
    My father used to tell me the same thing
    when I was afraid of the dark.
    Nice write.


  5. I could so identify with this, Sherry, coming from a long line of Irish women who often spoke to ghosts. I quite embrace the possibility, being willing to share my life with spirits if they need me. As you point out, it is the living who sometimes scare me silly!

  6. 'Galway Bay tinkling through one side of my brain and out the other' it. But, my goodness, what a ghosty life you've had! And I've seen nary a one. But 'Galway Bay' was my mother's favourite song (she wasn't Irish) so maybe your blog is her getting in touch with me!

  7. My god! You have encountered so many ghosts!Your poem gave me shudders, especially that spooky old woman of the store. But it's good to know that ghosts can be friendly.

  8. If there's somethin weird in your neighborhood...who ya gonna call?



  9. I found this to be interesting read! Love ghosts!

  10. Great story er stories the ending is so true!

  11. love the different versions of ghosts, I saw them on movies or heard them from people's stories..

    well done.
    they are everywhere.

  12. Great one Sherry. You bring them to life in this poem.

  13. Sherry, you definitely had more than your share of experiences with ghosts! Nice work.

  14. Sherry,
    I enjoyed reading this account of your ghostly encounters, very much.
    I do wholeheartedly agree, that we have much more to fear from the living!

    Best Regards, Eileen

  15. I enjoyed that and your concluding verse was wonderful!

  16. I want to hear more; fascinating! I agree the living are way more frightening~

  17. What a collection of ghosts. This is like a whole mini-book of ghosts! Each could be its own poem. You really let it flow with this prompt!

  18. I believe! My mom has so many stories, too, of ghosts in appalachia. I have my own.:) Wonderful stories that could be a short story for sure.


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!