Author: Paul House

Poetry: Ghosts




Yes, it will always be there just out of reach,

Either lurking behind a faraway corner

Or stepping out from behind one you’ve already passed,

And it’s hard to decide if the shape that it takes

Is something you’ve dropped or hope to pick up.


But maybe it’s not altogether important

Which one it is, it doesn’t much matter.

There’s no comfort in knowing, just more room for doubts.

You continue walking neither towards nor away,

But desperately wanting something to touch,

Some proof that somewhere there is something alive

And waiting for you, waiting only for you.


Like the unopened letter you see by the door

Which has a life of its own yet is heaved into your

World even before it’s broken in to and read.

Or like the leaking of laughter in a smoke-filled room

That’s developed by strangers but still always seems

To be finding a way to point out how absurd

Is your posture with its undisciplined back.


And so, seeing suspended this uncertain shape,

Just out of reach yet just within reach,

You move on and follow and learn how to loiter

Convincingly when it stops to look back,

Indifferent, like love that has ceased to be love.

And then you think that if you could only

Place it in terms that were at once positive

And beautiful, perhaps it would not remain blurred.


So you try to find out where it goes when it leaves,

But when you follow it runs away and it hides,

When you run, it follows you two or three steps behind,

Its steps just out of time with your own,

Its breathing that of an empty room.





Sample Chapters

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Poem for Anna •  Mandelstam and Mayakovsky •  The Lighted Window  •  Alone with the Years •  The Poet Tires •  Something there is •  La Madrugada •  Postcard of a Golden Retriever •  Shellfish •  Miguel Hernandez •  At the Edge of the Ebro •  Gone •  Playing Cards •  That's Where I Belong •  An Abstract Perfection •  Pearls in a Glass •  Poem for Susie •  Mornings in Malasaña •  Leo •  A Garbled Message •  Gnome •  Old Friends •  More About Penguins •  Ghosts •  Poem for Nelly •  Good Friday in Salamanca •  T.L.P. •  What It Is About •  The Blind Man And His Guide •  The Smell Of Winter •  For No Other Reason •  Poem for Linda