The Guest

haunted castle

Lock the door on the night,
Shut out the stars, the cricket’s song,
The whir of annoying wings, the darkness
Unfolded from the opened suitcase
Of someone moving surreptitiously
From place to place, for this place is the place
Where you belong, at least for now,
Behind this strong door, within these walls,
Like water sheltered by a steadfast dam.
Nothing foul plashes,
Splashes or lurks along
The edges here nor drops
Into the garden from the parapet.
No madman mutters secrets by the candle
In the tower, no ghost saunters
Amid the cobwebs of the unoccupied wing.
Those are not bones
Under the kitchen floor.
I have arranged a bed for you below the stairs.
You will hear the timbers groan
If anything comes
Down the rail towards your door, heard
Like the faltering hand of the grandfather clock
In the parlour struggling to get over
Some glitch in the works.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t sleep.
If you do sleep, if you wake in the morning
When birds begin their songs outside
The window and, on the bedside table,
A mug of tea greets you steaming
Grandly like a far-off lake
Throwing off mists in the sunshine,
You will know you have arrived.


We all suffer from morbid fears of we don’t know what and I have toyed with that idea here. I wanted to break out of rhyme and meter, just for the freedom of it. It looks OK for now.


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