A Little Ghost


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.

Mary Gilmore


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2007 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
Tir Na nOg Poetry Community