Charlie’s Poems 7

The Ghost of Nant-y-Ffrith


Amidst wild Cambria’s mountains

          There is a quiet vale

Where scenes of sylvan splendour

          Can tempt one to regale;

But let all those who enter

          Leave ere twilight falls

Or he may see, despite his scorn

A fearful, hovering spectral form –

          His very heart enthrals.


A sounding in the forest

          Where thickest brambles grow

Is heard a heavy breathing

          Laborious and slow;

It chills one’s heart to hear it –

          It makes one tremble so –

To see that face so white and bent

Upon the blackberry bush intent

          In summer or in snow.


You’ll see that he is picking

          Blackberries by the score

He heeds not who is watching –

          He searches near the floor;

He eats them all, this ghost does

          For grubs he cares no more;

He’s happy, now, is ghostly Joe

That blackberries he’ll ever stow

          In his ever open door.


But watcher, take a warning,

          This shuddering spectre grim

Was once a living human,

Handsome, strong and slim:

His friends showed him the insect

          That shortened so his days

But Joe never took the helping snub

All he said was ‘sensible grub’

And kept on with his craze.


To all whose way leads through the glen,     

          I’d warn them not to linger

If they do they’ll surely feel

          That chilly, ghostly finger

Inviting them to taste the fruit

          Grown in this quiet vale:

But don’t do so, or you’ll join Joe

To help him run his gruesome show

          For ever in the dale.

                                                                                September 1925


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