The Ghost

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This morning I walked two miles to a meeting – two miles on a route where I had to watch out for myself because on this route no one in a car or a truck or a train ever really sees pedestrians making their way from one side of the street to the other.

Then why take that walk?

Because this morning I went looking for ghosts.

The buildings here are old. The sidewalks and roads are breaking apart in some places and just below the surface in other spots you can see the bricks- red and rust colored – that once paved all of the roads down here. They’re still down there under all of that gray…buried alive years and years ago.

On some of the streets I crossed over I saw old railroad tracks that run for a few feet and in some places and  half a block in others.

Now instead of going somewhere else the tracks disappear into the sides of new buildings with names instead of numbers and electronic locks securing their doors instead of padlocks and chains.

I’m drawn to those deadlines and when I was young I used to have nightmares about lost trains and the dead people who still rode them.

I drifted by rows of small tool and cabinet supply stores- the type of stores that contractors and builders go to where the inventory is stocked in boxes instead of shelves and there are clocks with faces on the walls instead of digital clocks on desks.

These buildings have picture windows that face a hillside that was once covered with trees and now face a freeway.

Some of the small stores still have black and white tiled floors or fancy  carvings above their doorways that tell me once long ago maybe ladies bought hats here and maybe a druggist mixed and dispensed his medicines over there and sold penny candies to the kids who once long ago went to school in a building whose foundation is buried under a parking garage.

This place must be full of ghosts I thought- how could I not find one?

It was a lonely and quiet walk and at the end of it I guessed I hadn’t seen any ghosts or caught the echoes from the long gone sawmill that shaped the roads and buildings that are here now.

Even though it was sad was a sad and uneventful walk I’d decided  I’ll take again.

And then as I went by the last empty building, just before I went into the warehouse under the bridge I realized as I caught sight of my pale almost transparent reflection in a dusty window of a closed down store…I may not have seen any ghosts…

but I did learn something

Now I think I know what it feels like to be one.

Death Of A River

( poem )

The Garden of Proserpine

by A. C. Swinburne, 1866 

( historical )

Photos ofThe Duwamish River, Washington State

 

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Here, where the world is quiet;
     Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
     In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
     A sleepy world of streams.

 

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I am tired of tears and laughter,
     And men that laugh and weep,
Of what may came hereafter
     For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
     And everything but sleep.

 

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Here life has death for neighbour,
     And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labour,
     Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
     And no such things grow here.

 

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There go the loves that wither,
     The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
     And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
     Red strays of ruined springs.

 

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We are not sure of sorrow,
     And joy was never sure;
Today will die tomorrow;
     Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
     Weeps that no loves endure.

 

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From too much love of living,
     From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
     Whatever gods may be
That no man lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
     Winds somewhere safe to sea.

 

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Then star nor sun shall waken,
     Nor any change of light;
Nor sound of waters shaken,
     Nor any sound or sight;
Nor wintry nor vernal,
Nor days, nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
     In an eternal night.

for more information on the Duwamish River visit

Life on The Duwamish River

A River Lost

The Paper Noose