voices from the past


A Little Ghost

by Mary Gilmore (1865-1962)

Australian writer

The moonlight flutters from the sky
To meet her at the door,
A little ghost, whose steps have passed
    Across the creaking floor.

And rustling vines that lightly tap
    Against the window-pane,
Throw shadows on the white-washed walls
    To blot them out again.

The moonlight leads her as she goes
    Across a narrow plain,
By all the old, familiar ways
    That know her steps again.

And through the scrub it leads her on
    And brings her to the creek,
But by the broken dam she stops
    And seems as she would speak.

She moves her lips, but not a sound
    Ripples the silent air;
She wrings her little hands, ah, me!
    The sadness of despair!

While overhead the black-duck's wing
    Cuts like a flash upon
The startled air, that scarcely shrinks
    Ere he afar is gone.

And curlews wake, and wailing cry
    Cur-lew! cur-lew! cur-lew!
Till all the Bush, with nameless dread
    Is pulsing through and through.

The moonlight leads her back again
    And leaves her at the door,
A little ghost whose steps have passed
    Across the creaking floor.

About the Author

See our page on Mary Gilmore. Includes a linked list of all her writing available on our website.

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