Today’s topic is ghosts! Yes, I’ve selected a ghost poem and written about my experiences with ghosts. The poem is a “Summer Night” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 -1892), who was Poet Laureate during Queen Victoria’s reign. It’s a very beautiful poem with lovely imagery in which the poet is asking his dead beloved’s ghost to meet him on a summer night.
He first describes how the evening is sinking into night, because the flowers, the trees, the fish, the peacock and the lily – are all retiring for the day. Only the firefly is around and he tells her that it’s time to wake up.
“Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,” refers to a legend in Greek mythology. Danae was a princess who was locked up by her father in a prison because an astrologer tells him that the son she bears will end up killing him. But, Zeus – the King of Gods, manages to get to her and she bears a son Perseus. You can google the entire legend, if you wish.
Summer Night by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.
Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
The Evening Walk
Reading this poem reminded me of an incident in my childhood. Those days we didn’t possess mobiles and other devices, so we actually spent a lot of time outdoors and also had more time to indulge in a few escapades now and then 🙂 🙂
We always found the topic of ghosts very exciting and sometimes during holidays and especially at night, we spent time in our friends’ houses telling each other ghost-stories. And when the atmosphere would become quite tense and eerie after the story recital, one of the bolder kids would sneak out and quietly turn off the lights in the room – and terrified screams would follow……
Like I mentioned before in another post, we used to wait for the city bus to get home after school. And more often than not, the bus was really late and the wait was very boring.
An idle brain is a devil’s workshop, but a bored “idle brain” that’s waiting for a bus happens to be worse than a devil’s workshop. That day I got a brilliant idea while waiting. There were two huge graveyards with impressive tombstones that were situated on the way between school and home. Graveyards are generally interesting – especially to kids, so we used to look at them curiously from the bus whenever we passed them.
I suggested to the others that instead of wasting our time waiting for the bus, it might be a good idea to try walking back home. After all, it was only about 7 kms 😉 and we could explore the graveyards and take some other interesting shortcuts. There was a good chance that we might meet a few ghosts and have some fun, besides increasing our GK (general knowledge) on that topic. Must’ve had a somewhat charismatic personality back then, because everyone readily agreed to my imbecile plans 🙂 🙂
So we set out for our evening walk, feeling proud that we were a bunch of bold kids on a mission to do some “research” on ghosts, and soon entered a graveyard. We ambled inside it, stopping by the tombstones and reading what was written on them. After some time, we were somewhat disappointed that everything seemed very mundane and peaceful and there was nothing at all that was bizarre or extraordinary.
At that point someone in our group shrieked out loudly and scarily just trying to be funny, but thanks to our eerie location, we all were terrified and sprinted towards the nearest gate. Thus, having had enough of our graveyard experience, we started walking home taking all the shortcuts. And of course, many of those shortcuts didn’t turn out to be actual shortcuts 🙁
Meanwhile our parents were worried to a frenzy. They made rounds on the main road to school searching for us, but couldn’t manage to find us because we were taking shortcuts. We normally reached home every day around 4 – 4.15 pm, but that day managed to get home around 6 – 6.30 pm to meet a bunch of distraught parents. And without doubt, they had a lot of nasty things to say to us – the only thing that gave us nightmares that night weren’t the ghosts 🙁