Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For POETS UNITED ~ Midweek Motif ~ Halloween or Celebrating the Dead ~ One Night in Nottingham in October 2003 ~

I heard a step outside the window, 
and smelt a whiff of scented tobacco
I thought at first that it was imagination
 or the work of spirits or Hallucination-

I stopped to think, afraid of what I may see
It may be a fairy or the silent stealthy kitty 
knocking something accidentally- 

But then I slowly moved the curtain 
again I heard the sound I was certain. 

And then I saw him,
on some spiral  stairs
a man slightly bald
thin in physique holding 
the staircase railing 
with fear, waiting to gather 
his strength so weak
step by step holding the stick, 
tightly  showing a phase 
of  life in the age,
loneliness and infirmity,
helplessness sympathy,pity, 

another step, 
another clang, 
another year, 
another question, 
would he be alive , 
the next moment 
what if he falls? 

why is he alone 
what figure of skin n bone, 
of breath and breath , 
of body of stone,

what thoughts in the cold ,
what step or steps so bold, 
what the heart may hold 
Or what the heart may seek? 

Can one call or feel,or wait-
or walk so straight, 
up the stairs or down
like the two pointed ladder 
and all the apple picking, 
Has he done the barrel filling? 

He stepped down the last
and I stepped back, 
I waited for a while 
but no sound came 
Why life is silently
 lonely for some?

 I looked around, 
I too was alone-
Time ticked,
second by second. 
No one was with me 
and I thought
Maybe soon I too
would  be,
thin physique 
skin and bone
maybe, surely alone , 
maybe not, maybe?

With these thoughts 
I put down the broom with 
which I was cleaning the room
switched off the music 
then again I saw,
a man, outside the window
looking inside,eyes unblinking
thin pale face 
body clad in
a long overcoat
in silence he stood and 
looked and looked...

minutes seemed frozen hours

I guess the owner of
this old council house,
you have seen
died 60 years ago,
happy to see you clean
the room where he must 
have sat 
and watched
the outside scene...

Son,  was it a ...spirit...a ghost...then...
He smiled
Oh Mom ! just pray no harm they mean
remember it is the time 
the night of Halloween' 

in silence I made a firm decision
I would never ever complain 
about the stairs in the house again.

CER Copyright anjum wasim dar 2014   



  1. You have succeeded in giving me the chills with your poem here. I enjoyed it very much!!! Happy Halloween to you...

  2. There is so much going on in this poem! I like the old man's climb and everything it means to the observer. I like the possibility that he walks these stairs only on Halloween and that he may see the lone inhabitant. But the "moral" was the best part! Never complain, never stop, never become feeble? it's a plan!

  3. Oh, very eery. I once lived in a haunted building. I think the man WAS happy to see you cleaning up his place.

  4. This poem gives me shivers. An excellent poem in the spirit of the season.