I’m such a quiet little ghost,
Demure and inoffensive,
The other spirits say I’m most
Through all the merry hours of night
I’m uniformly cheerful;
I love the dark; but in the light,
I own I’m rather fearful.
Each dawn I cower down in bed,
In every brightness seeing
That weird uncanny form of dread—
An awful Human Being!
Of course I’m told they can’t exist,
That Nature would not let them:
But Willy Spook, the Humanist,
Declares that he has met them!
He says they do not glide like us,
But walk in eerie paces;
They’re solid, not diaphanous,
With arms! and legs!! and faces!!!
And some are beggars, some are kings,
Some have and some are wanting,
They squander time in doing things,
Instead of simply haunting.
They talk of “art,” the horrid crew,
And things they call “ambitions.”—
Oh, yes, I know as well as you
They’re only superstitions.
But should the dreadful day arrive
When, starting up, I see one,
I’m sure ’twill scare me quite alive;
And then—Oh, then I’ll be one!
There’s a brook on the side of Greylock that
used to be
full of trout,
But there’s nothing there now but minnows; they say
it is all fished out.
I fished there many a Summer day some twenty years
And I never quit without getting a mess of a dozen or so.
There was a man, Dave Lilly, who lived on the North
And he spent all his time fishing, while his neighbors
reaped and sowed.
He was the luckiest fisherman in the Berkshire hills, I
And when he didn’t go fishing he’d sit in the tavern and
Well, Dave is dead and buried and nobody cares very
They have no use in Greylock for drunkards and loafers
But I always liked Dave Lilly, he was pleasant as you
He was shiftless and good-for-nothing, but he certainly
The other night I was walking up the hill from Williamstown
And I came to the brook I mentioned, and I stopped
on the bridge and sat down.
I looked at the blackened water with its little flecks of
And I heard it ripple and whisper in the still of the
And after I’d been there a minute it seemed
to me I could
The presence of someone near me, and I heard the hum
of a reel.
And the water was churned and broken, and something
was brought to land
By a twist and a flirt of a shadowy rod in a deft and