All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
 

Poems by This Author

Evangeline [excerpt] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Lovely the moonlight was as it glanced and gleamed on the water
A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Hymn to the Night by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the trailing garments of the Night
Introduction to Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
My Lost Youth by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Often I think of the beautiful town
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Snow-Flakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Out of the bosom of the Air
Song of the Owl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
The owl
The Children's Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Between the dark and the daylight,
The Cross of Snow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the long, sleepless watches of the night
The Day Is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The day is done, and the darkness
The Harvest Moon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
The Song of Hiawatha [excerpt] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All day long roved Hiawatha
The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The tide rises, the tide falls
Today We Make the Poet's Words Our Own by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
To-day we make the poet's words our own
Woods in Winter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When winter winds are piercing chill


Further Reading

Ghost Poems
Hamlet, Act I, Scene I [Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes]
by William Shakespeare
A Ghost
by Cole Swensen
All Hallows Night
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
At Night
by Yone Noguchi
Blue Dementia
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Blue Oxen
by Dara Wier
Epitaph
by Eric Pankey
Ghost
by Paul Mariani
Ghost Elephants
by Jean Valentine
Ghost House
by Robert Frost
Ghost in the Land of Skeletons
by Christopher Kennedy
Ghost Notes [excerpt]
by Ralph Burns
Ghostology
by Rebecca Lindenberg
Ghosts That Need Reminding
by Dana Levin
Hallow-E'en, 1915
by Winifred M. Letts
Haunted Seas
by Cale Young Rice
How Can It Be I Am No Longer I
by Lucie Brock-Broido
Lamp or Mirror
by Tony Barnstone
Lenore
by Edgar Allan Poe
Letter from a Haunted Room
by Lisa Sewell
Low Barometer
by Robert Bridges
My hero bares his nerves
by Dylan Thomas
Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy
by Donald Justice
Patsy Sees a Ghost
by Lola Haskins
Poems About Ghosts
Rain
by Claribel Alegría
Red String
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Restless Ghost
by Eric Pankey
Sequestered Writing
by Carolyn Forché
Shadwell Stair
by Wilfred Owen
Shaking the Grass
by Janice N. Harrington
Something Whispered in the Shakuhachi
by Garrett Hongo
Song for the Clatter-Bones
by F. R. Higgins
Spirit Birds
by Stanley Plumly
The Apparition
by John Donne
The Ghost Has No Home
by Jeff Clark
The Haunted Palace
by Edgar Allan Poe
To the Trespasser
by David Barber
Unbidden
by Rae Armantrout
We're All Ghosts Now
by Dara Wier
What They Found In the Diving Bell
by Traci Brimhall
When There Were Ghosts
by Alberto Ríos
Whose Story of Us We Is Told Is Us
by Shane McCrae
Poems for Halloween
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I [Round about the cauldron go]
by William Shakespeare
The Lady of the Manor [Next died the Lady]
by George Crabbe
All Hallows Night
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
All Souls' Night, 1917
by Hortense King Flexner
Antigonish [I met a man who wasn't there]
by Hughes Mearns
Bats
by Paisley Rekdal
Christabel [excerpt]
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Dirge
by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
Dream-Land
by Edgar Allan Poe
Goblin Market
by Christina Rossetti
Hallow-E'en, 1914
by Winifred M. Letts
Hallow-E'en, 1915
by Winifred M. Letts
Hallowe'en Charm
by Arthur Guiterman
Halloween
by Arthur Peterson
Halloween
by Robert Burns
Incantation
by George Parsons Lathrop
Low Barometer
by Robert Bridges
Mr. Macklin's Jack O'Lantern
by David McCord
November Night
by Adelaide Crapsey
On Halloween
by Janet Little
Raising the Devil: A Legend of Cornelius Agrippa
by Richard Harris Barham
Shadwell Stair
by Wilfred Owen
Song of the Deathless Voice
by Abram Joseph Ryan
Sonnet 100
by Lord Brooke Fulke Greville
Spirits of the Dead
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Apparition
by John Donne
The Giaour [Unquenched, unquenchable]
by George Gordon Byron
The Hag
by Robert Herrick
The Hand of Glory: The Nurse's Story
by Richard Harris Barham
The Haunted Palace
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Vampire
by Madison Julius Cawein
The Vampyre
by John Stagg
The White Witch
by James Weldon Johnson
The Witch-Bride
by William Allingham
Theme in Yellow
by Carl Sandburg
Third Charm from Masque of Queens
by Ben Jonson
Ulalume
by Edgar Allan Poe