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A Ghost At The Dancing

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 1826 (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire) – 1887 (Shortlands, London)



A WIND-SWEPT tulip-bed--a colored cloud
Of butterflies careering in the air--
A many-figured arras stirred to life,
And merry unto midnight music dumb--
So the dance whirls. Do any think of thee,
Amiel, Amiel?
Friends greet each other--countless rills of talk
Meander round, scattering a spray of smiles.
Surely--the news was false. One minute more
And thou wilt stand here, tall and quiet-eyed,
Shakespearian beauty in they pensive face,
Amiel, Amiel.

Many here knew and loved thee--I nor loved,
Scarce knew--yet in thy place a shadow glides,
And a face shapes itself from empty air,
Watching the dancers, grave and quiet-eyed--
Eyes that now see the angels evermore,
Amiel, Amiel.

On just such night as this, 'midst dance and song,
I bade thee carelessly a light good by--
'Good by'--saidst thou; 'A happy journey home!'
Was the unseen death-angel at thy side,
Mocking those words--('A happy journey home,'
Amiel, Amiel?

Ay, we play fool's play still; thou hast gone home.
While these dance here, a mile hence o'er thy grave
Drifts the deep New Year snow. The wondrous gate
We spoke of, thou hast entered; I without
Grope ignorant still--thou dost its secrets know,
Amiel, Amiel.

What if, thus sitting where we sat last year,
Thou camest, took'st up our broken thread of talk,
And told'st of that new Home, which far I view,
As children, wandering on through wintry fields,
Mark on the hill the father's window shine,
Amiel, Amiel?

No. We shall see thy pleasant face no more;
Thy words on earth are ended. Yet thou livest;
'T is we who die.--I too, one day shall come,
And, unseen, watch these shadows, quiet-eyed--
Then flit back to thy land, the living land,
Amiel, Amiel.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Dinah Maria Craik (; born Dinah Maria Mulock, also often credited as Miss Mulock or Mrs. Craik) was an English novelist and poet. She is best remembered for her novel John Halifax, Gentleman, which presents the mid-Victorian ideals of English middle-class life.  more…

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