A tragic shade wanders here in sorrow
through a time turning widdershins.
She seems unaware of my presence as
she haunts these forsaken ruins.
Close by now, how softly she whimpers,
so mournfully it breaks my heart.
As she passes me by with a rustling of silk,
the veil is torn apart.
For almost two centuries she's been trapped here
in shock and disbelief.
The past recorded in old stone walls
is restless as an autumn leaf.
No living Soul has been able to reach her,
although many down the years have tried.
But, just now, as her tortured gaze met mine -
oh such pleading in those soft brown eyes!
On a sleepless night, outside my window
such a pitious wail fills the air.
On the breeze it's carried over rooftop and field
and the startled owls leave their lair.
What can be the source of such pain and when will
the strands of her story knit up
in my consciousness so I can offer relief?
Oh please let it be by sun-up.
I ask, I make my own vague assumptions,
yet the sad truth's been here all along.
It's a case of learning to read the stones
and feeling their ancient song:
of forming pictures through sensitive hands -
a neural pathways' breech,
in order to map out another's life
that time's rendered out of reach.
Flash of cognition: two young Victorians
and a love that flouts class divide.
An incensed father, mortified and enraged
at the disgrace to his family pride.
He's discovered them together beside woodland pond
and had the young servant beaten
then unceremoniously thrown off his land
to lie bleeding and mentally browbeaten.
His daughter's protests are the final straw -
it pushes him over the edge.
In a terrible fury and overcome with shame -
village gossip is the worst sacrilege -
he drags her screaming to the water's edge
and hastily pushes her in,
then holds her beneath the cold water 'til
all struggling ceases within.
Then stark realisation of what he's done:
a bitter remorse grips his mind
and the ghastly vision of hangman's noose
brings a terror undefined.
So later that night beneath moonless sky,
he retrieves her lifeless form
and smuggles it home then torches the house,
attempting to the law misinform.
Well, to cut a potentially long story short,
I'm sure you can guess the rest.
It wasn't the father who hung by the neck,
but the poor lover though he tried to protest.
Oh I hope that now the truth is out
this sad little ghost will be laid.
Yet, within these ruins on this warm spring eve
still a chill the air seems to pervade...