Thursday, October 30, 2014

Haunted Houses

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

 All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the "Fireside Poets," wrote lyrical poems about history, mythology, and legend that were popular and widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day. 

I've always loved a good ghost story. I find them fascinating.
But not in the way that most people do. 
I don't believe in an afterlife. I believe we all should live our lives to the fullest and leave a legacy for future generations. Our ability to live on comes from living through the lives of people that we touch along the way. I do believe that houses and buildings hold a residual effect of those that came before us. And that we each leave our mark in the places that we call home and where we work and play.

Do you believe in ghost? Do you love a good ghost story?

1 comment:

MorningAJ said...

Many years ago there was a play on TV called The Stone Tapes that suggested buildings act like a recording device and can, in the right conditions, play back 'ghosts'. I like that theory.