I don’t speak to ghosts

August 30, 2019

The rain sounded like a knock.
So I went to the door,
to invite it in.
Bewitched – water from the sky!
I find you there,
dry,
not alive.
I wish I could hold your soul inside.
But my new swell of presence
won’t allow it –
another dark subtraction, trickling
down at my bare brown feet.
Go – go –
with you, I’m not safe.
Don’t knock at my door;
you’re no longer part of this world.
I’m more cautious than I used to be.
I don’t speak to ghosts.
I don’t invite them in.
I no longer grind my teeth
in sleep.
I’m no longer wild like a banshee.
My haunted time is done.

Nisha Bhakoo

have their fortunes told

August 22, 2019

I could live there all alone, she thought, slowing the car to look down the winding garden path to the small blue front door with, perfectly, a white cat on the step. No one would ever find me there, either, behind all those roses, and just to make sure I would plant oleanders by the road. I will light a fire in the cool evenings and toast apples at my own hearth. I will raise white cats and sew white curtains for the windows and sometimes come out of my door to go to the store to buy cinnamon and tea and thread. People will come to me to have their fortunes told, and I will brew love potions for sad maidens; I will have a robin…

Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House

Belief

July 9, 2019

I believe in ghosts and overlapping worlds.

this ghost

June 16, 2019

So, I confront this ghost in the corner of the room.

‘Don’t you have better things to do right now?’ I ask it.

‘Whoa,’ it replies. ‘Mightn’t I say the same to you – ?’

fairies

May 28, 2019

This beautifully titled novel is, I suppose, a fairy tale, since there are fairies in it, or, anyhow, beings called fairies. They aren’t visible to everyone, yet can affect the lives of people who don’t see, or don’t believe in them. In that, they play in modern industrial England something like their role in the folklore of the past. They don’t, however, fit conventional notions of what a fairy looks like: they aren’t the tall, fair ones who carry you off under the hill, nor yet the tiny Peaseblossoms and sprites the Victorians loved, and they are most definitely not Tinker Bell. Walton’s descriptions suggest that the great illustrator Arthur Rackham was one of the people who could see them: “In the same way that oak trees have acorns and hand-shaped leaves, and hazels have hazelnuts and little curved leaves, most fairies are gnarly and grey or green or brown, and there’s generally something hairy about them somewhere. This one was grey, very gnarly indeed, and well over towards the hideous part of the spectrum.”

Mori, the protagonist and narrator of the novel, has always seen and known the fairies. Though she’d like them to be Tolkien’s Elves,  they aren’t gracious and powerful,  but frustrated, marginal, somehow diminished. Some of them are probably ghosts. They are untamed, uncivilised, and unpredictable. They speak Welsh, mostly. They don’t answer to any name, but if asked properly they can grant wishes. They are like fragments of the wild, surviving only where a trace of woodland survives, haunting whatever remains of the unhuman: old parks, pre-industrial, untilled places, forgotten roads out past the edges of towns and farms.

Ursula K Le Guin
Review of Jo Walton’s Among Others
The Guardian 30th March 2013

spirits of the dead

May 12, 2019

I don’t believe that ghosts are “spirits of the dead” because I don’t believe in death. In the multiverse, once you’re possible, you exist. And once you exist, you exist forever one way or another. Besides, death is the absence of life, and the ghosts I’ve met are very much alive. What we call ghosts are lifeforms just as you and I are.

Paul F. Eno
Footsteps in the Attic

And so you haunt me. Always with me, you are the invisible diner at our table, the constant presence that trails me as I go about my daily routine…. In the darkness of a closed-lidded world, you are alive and vital, unchanging, mine. You are the ghost of everything that once was lovely… a shadow casts its majesty over everything that remains…

Samantha Bruce-Benjamin
The Art of Devotion

without protoplasm

May 11, 2019

Surely the supreme problem for science to solve if she can, is whether life, as we know it, can exist without protoplasm, or whether we are but the creatures of an idle day; whether the present life is the entrance to an infinite and unseen world beyond, or “the Universe but a soulless interaction of atoms, and life a paltry misery closed in the grave.

William F. Barrett
On the Threshold of the Unseen

I’ve spent too much time on Dark Google searching out those illicit and very secret Farmers Markets with their cornucopia of forbidden fruits and crisply virgin vegetables. I am, yes, a lost soul –

The Truth the Dead Know

March 21, 2019

for my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Anne Sexton