The Strange House

(Max Gate, A.D. 2000)

‘I hear the piano playing—
 Just as a ghost might play.’
‘—O, but what are you saying?
 There's no piano to-day;
Their old one was sold and broken;
 Years past it went amiss.’
‘—I heard it, or shouldn't have spoken:
   A strange house, this!

‘I catch some undertone here,
 From some one out of sight.’
‘—Impossible; we are alone here,
 And shall be through the night.’
‘—The parlour-door—what stirred it?’
 ‘—No one: no soul's in range.’
‘—But, anyhow, I heard it,
   And it seems strange!

‘Seek my own room I cannot—
 A figure is on the stair!’
‘—What figure? Nay, I scan not
 Any one lingering there.
A bough outside is waving,
 And that's its shade by the moon.’
‘—Well, all is strange! I am craving
   Strength to leave soon.’

‘—Ah, maybe you've some vision
 Of showings beyond our sphere;
Some sight, sense, intuition
 Of what once happened here?
The house is old; they've hinted
 It once held two love-thralls,
And they may have imprinted
   Their dreams on its walls?

‘They were—I think 'twas told me—
 Queer in their works and ways;
The teller would often hold me
 With weird tales of those days.
Some folk can not abide here,
 But we—we do not care
Who loved, laughed, wept, or died here,
   Knew joy, or despair.’
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