Thursday, July 09, 2009

Theme Thursday Post - The Laying of Ghosts


Let me say right up front that I don't believe in ghosts. I don't believe that there is an afterlife, and absent an afterlife, where would ghosts come from?

That said, there was once a ghost. I met him only that once, and I've always regarded him as a symptom of advanced pregnancy combined with high anxiety. He came to me in the night.

I awoke suddenly. It felt as if someone had touched my breast - not gently, not violently, but more like a tap, a simple bid for attention. I looked up, and I saw him - the ghost - hovering a few feet from me. He was sitting cross-legged, tailor-fashion, in mid-air. He looked as startled as I felt.

There was light all around the ghost, and it permeated him. No, perhaps there was light in the ghost and it shone through him. That seems closer to what I saw.

It was a very uncomfortable situation. I glanced over at my husband, who lay sound asleep, then turned back to the ghost. I took my time, noting details - which seems strange to me in retrospect. Shouldn't I have been frightened?

His hair was the palest blond, and he had a moustache. He was dressed all in white, in an undershirt and boxer shorts. He was also wearing white socks. The word 'Edwardian' came to mind. I think his moustache was what gave me that idea. His mouth was gaping open, but not like some horror flick ghost's - more like someone who has been startled. My impression was that he didn't realize I would be able to feel it when he touched my breast.

As I watched him, he floated slowly toward the ceiling. Then he disappeared, like the Cheshire Cat - except he didn't leave a grin behind. That was a mercy.

There. I've confessed it. That is my ghost story. As I said, I chalk it up to pregnancy and anxiety, but at the same time, I remember my ghost rather fondly. I've always wanted to apologize if I frightened him.

I've never felt any real need to lay that particular ghost, as his presence in my life has never been a troubling one. But there are other ghosts, and I'm coming to think that this part of my life is about laying them, putting them in their rightful place.

I went looking through my half-baked poems this morning, and I came across something that isn't a poem at all. I think it's the beginning of the story I have to tell, the story to lay the ghosts.

This is the way of the river, my river. This is its course, the path it takes down from the mountain well-spring, the clean place of beginning. And nothing I wish, nothing I do can alter now its rush, its inevitable journey. I only cling, shivering, to the bank and watch, and wonder at the swiftness of it all, and wonder whether, if I had climbed long ago to the source, the place where my river emerged new and cold and hopeful from the earth I might have held the whole of the river in my cupped hands.

My river rushes, willful and reckless, heedless of the rocks that bar its course. Unfathomable seeker of oblivion, tunneling through shadow, rising triumphant into dazzling light, It washes my grasping fingers and is gone, like words spoken in anger or in love, carried now unresisting, weeping to the deep, forgiving sea.


For more Theme Thursday ghostly posts, click here.

One more thing - I forgot to mention that I have another poem up at The Found Poetry Project. I really like this one.

20 comments:

Poetikat said...

I saw a giraffe in my bedroom once when I took a Neo Citran. Were you on anything, or was it just hormones, do you think? Wow! That is quite the ghost story.

Kat

Sandra Leigh said...

No, I wasn't on anything, and I was decidedly awake. Yes, likely hormones. They complicate our lives in ways we cannot begin to comprehend. He was a sweet old (young) ghost, though. I forgot to mention he looked to be in his mid-twenties, maybe thirty. If I were to choose a man to fantasize about, he wouldn't look at all like this fellow. That's what I find confusing. Why would I make him up?

subtorp77 said...

"Unfathomable seeker of oblivion"; I like that, Sandra. And cool story. Wondering if the ghost may have been an ancestor; possibly just checking to see if you were okay? Just thinking, but it hits close to home...

nanny said...

Wow, that's quiet a story!!! Did you not scream?

J A Harnett-Hargrove said...

Wow, great story. Told with the eye of a poet. -Jayne

John Hayes said...

That's a rather amazing story-- sitting like a tailor in mid-air. I actually had a "ghostly" experience once, but it wasn't so benign (tho I'm officially agnostic on the subject overall)--& a long story. Loved the Earhart poem, & loved the writing you found of your own. One thing about laying "ghosts" of the sort you may mean to rest-- one has to decide they actually are ghosts--not easy for me....

Audrey said...

Great story! I had a "visitor" on January 31, 2008. I had finished my treatments on August 28, and was trying to re-establish a normal sleep pattern. That particular night, I was in a deep sleep. Something woke me - I looked to my right and saw an old woman standing by my bed, quietly looking at me. Like you, I felt no fear. Until it dawned on my that maybe she had come to take me "home." That caused some anxiety. She seemed to sense it, and slowly backed away, evaporating as she went!

Sandra Leigh said...

Subby, that line scares me a little. As for my Edwardian spectre, I can only make up stories about what he may have been. In truth, I have no idea.

Nanny, no - I didn't scream, because I wasn't frightened. He was really the gentlest of ghosts. I felt a little sorry for him.

Thank you, Jayne.

John, that's the trouble with those ghosts. Some of them are pretty lively.

Sandra Leigh said...

There, Audrey - maybe your ghost was my ghost's mother - they were both sensitive souls. You weren't in Toronto at the time, were you? That's where my ghost was.

Liza said...

Sandra that was the funniest ghost story I've ever read. Edwardian, indeed, in boxer shorts and socks. LOL!!!

Sandra Leigh said...

LOL, Liza - It was the moustache that made me think "Edwardian" - not the underwear. I'm afraid I have no idea what sort of underwear Edwardian gentlemen wore. Now,there's a research project in the making.

The Silver Fox said...

Hmmmm [says Silver Fox, stroking beard reflectively], you seem very dismissive of the existence of ghosts, but describe this one quite vividly. And your dismissal strikes me as rather Scrooge-like (meaning Scrooge the character, not Scrooge's character traits, y'see...), when he dismissed Marley's ghost as indigestion or a bad dream. Sucks if his existence disagrees with your concept of no afterlife, dunnit? ;-) (Sorry, just messin' with ya.)

Premium T. said...

I love that this ghost is benign. And why shouldn't a ghost be benign? The jury is out for me on the presence of ghosts, but if I were to come out and acknowledge belief, then all mine would certainly be of good nature! Jovial, even.

Baino said...

Well how rude to touch the breast of a pregnant woman, a simple tap on the shoulder would have done the trick!

Barbara Martin said...

I have seen ghosts, therefore I believe. There are many elements to earth that cannot be explained away by science.

You may have seen a ghost, or it may have been someone remote viewing; though the latter tend to appear in colour in whatever clothes they are wearing at the time of the visit.

You may be sensitive to the spirit world without being aware that you are. It is possible the ghost you saw is related to you in some way.

Sandra Leigh said...

Hey, Brer Fox - I prefer to think that I have a very vivid imagination.

Premium T. - absolutely. No nasty ghosts, thank you.

Baino - Well, he had the good grace to look embarrassed (as well he might). And by the way, I don't discount the possibility of having actually been awakened by a sharp kick from my daughter. She was in no position to reach my shoulder. ;>)

Sorry, Barbara. I think that all those unexplained things are just that - unexplained - not necessarily or even likely supernatural. We'll have to agree to disagree - but I'm quite willing and able to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a good story.

Megan said...

I think I had an intelligent comment, but when the first thing I see is Kat's question, "Were you on anything?" well...

Laughter is the best medicine.

Great post, Sandra.

Jill said...

Well, that is a unique one right down to the white tee, boxers and sox!
And, you seem to have been so calm?

Jaime said...

that would have totally freaked me out. i had lots of crazy dreams when i was pregnant - but the only time i saw a ghost, i can't chalk it up to pregnancy. or drinking.

GigiSxm said...

cool walls :-)

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