Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
A Palace of Dreams, and Other Verse (1901)
V. Neighbours
By Ada Bartrick Baker (1854– )
WHEN you live alone, how you hear each sound!
Should a mouse but scuttle along the ground
And a loose board creak—There! was it a mouse?
    Or a ghost’s step through the house!
Strange! What fancies come in a crowd,        5
When your fire burns fast and your clock ticks loud.
Outside, there’s a sudden lull in the rain,
    And—who tapp’d on the window-pane?
Only a wind-blown jasmine spray.
I saw it was loosen’d yesterday:        10
But it’s odd, it’s odd how the fancy lingers;
    It seemed like a dead man’s fingers!
Dead; yes, dead. Oh! more than a year.
And what should a dead man do down here,
Tapping like that on my window-pane?        15
    The freak of a foolish brain!
But the wind, the wind! Like a soul bereft
Of reason, hopelessly lost and left,
It wails and moans. Ah! Years ago
    A voice that I loved moan’d so.        20
Where was that tragic echo caught?
What ails the night? Or am I distraught?
Should I bear the sight, if I saw appear—
    There are steps—hark!—drawing near….
Steps indeed. Ah! but voices too.        25
Friends of mine—this is good of you!
Quick! Come in from the wind and the rain:
    Thank God! I’m alive again.

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