A Time of Ghosts

In the shadows of change, of life and thought,
they anchored the past to their unsettled present.
Obligations did not cease with death.

Ghosts were obvious and continued to be potent
images of past sins, promises and regrets,
seeping from the jet-black trappings, guilt-laden luxury

and ornate statuary in graveyard and cemetery.
The pleasurable shudder between living and dead
haunted Victorians in stories told and read.

Kim M. Russell, 28th October 2020

627 Highgate Cemetery Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

My response to Poets and Storytellers United Weekly Scribblings #43: Found Poems and Erasures

This Wednesday, Rosemary is hosting with a form prompt, a form I really enjoy, and I agree with her that turning to form usually help when a poem doesn’t come to me immediately. She has provided an interesting and helpful discussion about the difference between found poems and erasures and how two poets (one of whom is our own Magaly) create theirs.

Rosemary would like us to create some brand-new (though the source can be as old as we like) found poetry of our own – which might or might not be erasure poems; that’s up to us. If that doesn’t grab us, we may write (in any form we like) on the subject of finding or losing, or about erasing something.

Because of the time of year, I turned to an old favourite, The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghosts, for inspiration, and found it in the Introduction by Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert, which was written on All Souls’ Day, 1990.

23 thoughts on “A Time of Ghosts

  1. Yes, the Victorian era was certainly the time when honouring the dead was really monumental. There are some some quite beautiful cemetaries in Paris where well known artists, performers and artists are which a well worth a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ron. I’ve heard about those New Orleans cemeteries and remember a film that featured one of them. I would like to visit, but sadly I know it won’t happen. I’ll have to look at them on-line.


  2. I love what your poem says about the power of art, history, stories, words, and memory. I wonder if that is the reason why certain print books feel more alive than their electronic and audio editions. It’s as if the first grows through touch, and the latter remains even after the toucher (I don’t care it that’s not a word) is gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love old cemeteries…love to wander through them and wonder at the stories that lie there, written in the mists of time. Loved your poem, Kim!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can definitely feel the allure those tales had for the Victorians. This present is rather unsettled too, and we’d do well to think a little about what things we allow to haunt us, and what could use a good old fashioned exorcism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been listening to a radio programme on BBC Radio about the history of ghosts, which everyone could learn from. We’d need a lot of exorcists to cleanse us of our current troubles, Rommy!


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