The National Catholic Review
A poor thing the past
pathetically lost
arthritic ghosts
sealed up for years
in the great houses
of Charleston
leprous walls
peeling white paint
& delicate spinets
cracked yellow keys
like old bones
exhumed among
crazed porcelain

A poor thing the past
to us full of blood
reeking of life
smelling the mould
hearing the faint
tick of decay
peering & prowling
through high-vaulted rooms
stopped by the stare
from insolent eyes
the fury of a life
that had been
& is still here

Richard O’Connell, who lives in Hillsboro Beach, Fla., has had collections of his poetry published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg).

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