Ballade of Wandering Ghosts (Poem) can be found in




ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



March, 1929

Ballade of Wandering Ghosts

By HANNA BAIRD CAMPBELL

Have you beard the story the old wives tell,
 When winds in the turret sob and groan,
And the bloated moon easts an evil spell
 On the hearts of men when the day has flown?
When shadows out of the void are blown,
 And the reeling stars grow sick and pale,
When phantoms meet and their sins condone—
 Have you heard them whisper the evil tale?
They mumble and mouth of a loathsome dell,
 And a stagnant pool, with dead leaves strown,
Where vapors, foul with the stench of hell,
 Strike the chill of death through blood and bone;
And above the pool on a slimy stone,
 Wrapped in a luminous mist-gray veil,
Sits the ghost of the self-slain An gel one—
 Have you heard them whisper the evil tale?
They swear, at the stroke of the midnight bell,
 Betrayed by her lover, to rest unknown,
Her eery songs on the night-winds swell
 As she hushes her unborn babe's faint moan.
And the old wives clack in an undertone,
 And drown their fears in mugs of ale,
While Love looks down from a rotting throne—
 Have you heard them whisper the evil tale?

ENVOI

Ah, ravished heart, can man atone,
 Or prayers, or penance, or tears avail?
The ghastly harvest is reaped as sown—
 Have you heard them whisper the evil tale?