“Our Little Ghost”

I couldn’t help but think that Louisa might be musing about Lizzie when she wrote this (even if the description sounds more like May). I know it made me think of her. Judging from the date, a dear departed soldier could be imagined too (despite the description) What do you think?

OUR LITTLE GHOST

by: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

In the silence of the night,
When the lonely moon rides high,
When wintry winds are whistling,
And we hear the owl’s shrill cry;
In the quiet, dusky chamber,
By the flickering firelight,
Rising up between two sleepers,
Comes a spirit all in white.

A winsome little ghost it is,
Rosy-cheeked and bright of eye,
With yellow curls all breaking loose
From the small cap pushed awry;
Up it climbs among the pillows,
For the “big gark” brings no dread,
And a baby’s busy fancy
Makes a kingdom of a bed.

A fearless little ghost it is;
Safe the night as is the day;
The lonely moon to it is fair,
The sighing winds to it are gay.
The solitude is full of friends,
And the hour brings no regrets,
For in this happy little soul
Shines a sun that never sets.

A merry little ghost it is,
Dancing gayly by itself
On the flowery counterpane,
Like a tricksy household elf;
Nodding to the fitful shadows
As they flicker on the wall,
Talking to familiar pictures,
Mimicking the owl’s shrill call.

A thoughtful little ghost it is;
And when lonely gambols tire,
With chubby hands on chubby knees,
Sits winking at the fire;
Fancies innocent and lovely
Shine before those baby eyes;
Sunny fields of dandelions,
Brooks, and birds, and butterflies.

A loving little ghost it is,
When crept into its nest,
Its hand on father’s shoulder laid,
Its head on mother’s breast,
It watches each familiar face
With a tranquil, trusting eye,
And, like a sleepy little bird,
Sings its own soft lullaby.

Then those who feigned to sleep before,
Lest baby play till dawn,
Wake and watch their folded flower,
Little rose without a thorn!
And in the silence of the night,
The hearts that love it most,
Pray tenderly above its sleep,
“God bless our little ghost!”

“Our Little Ghost” is reprinted from The Flag of Our Union, September 15, 1866.
courtesy of Poetry Archive


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