by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
|From Poems of Experience (1917)|
Two dead men boarded a spectral ship
In the astral Port of Space;
On that ghost-filled barque, they met in the dark,
And halted, face to face.
‘Now whither away’ - called one of the ghosts,
‘This ship sets sail for Earth.
On the astral plane you must remain,
Where the newly dead have birth.’
‘But I could not stay and I would not stay,’
The other ghost replied;
‘I must hurry back to the old Earth track
And stand at my loved one’s side.
‘She weeps for me in her lonely room,
In the land from whence I came;
Oh! stow me away in this ship, I pray,
For I hear her call my name.’
‘You must not go, and you shall not go,’
The first ghost cried in wrath.
‘Your work is planned, in the astral land,
And a guide will show you the path.’
‘But the one I love’ - ‘I loved her too,’
The first ghost stood and cried;
‘And year on year I waited here,
Yea, waited till you died.
‘For I would not come between you two,
Nor shadow her joy with fear,
But mine is the right, I claim this night
To visit the earthly sphere.
‘For you are dead, and I am dead,
And you had her long - so long.
And to look on the grace of her worshipped face,
Ah! now it can do no wrong.
‘I am fettered to Earth by love of her,
And hers is the spell divine,
That can help me rise, to the realm that lies
Just over the astral line.
‘I have kept to the laws of God and man,
I have suffered and made no moan;
Now my little share of joy, I swear
I will have - and have it alone.’
A skeleton crew the anchor drew,
And the ship from the port swung free;
With a muffled clang the ghost bell rang,
And the boat sailed out to sea.
And one ghost stood on the deck and laughed,
As only a glad ghost can;
While a swooning soul was dragged to his goal,
To work out the astral span.
And a woman wept, and prayed ere she slept,
For a dream to ease her pain;
But she dreamed instead of a man long dead,
Who had loved her all in vain.