Ghost Town Reverie


Rippling waves of incoherence

Washing from a gaggle of gossipy runners

Fluttering past the open summer window

Burning energy with mindless talk, 

restless motion, communing through

Long avenues named for long dead men

Occupied today by new folk, rootless

inhabiting only now, making their love

Their life severed from history

Insensate to the ghosts 

Whose air they breathe

Whose place they fill

Whose substance they dispossess.


Waves of incoherence rippling my mind

Walking now these ghosted streets

as a sad man returned to a lost lover

All intimate physical familiarity

devoid of passion, connection, meaning

haunted by the hollowness, straining

to hear, capture, comprehend now, or

Know some well-remembered face, place

Seize again, hold, some shadow 

Born of our here story, our

Living, loving, laughing indelibly

On the vast time-scape of the prairie


Life a long mosaic of options taken

History the obverse of those overlooked

Nostalgia imagining substance 

In the vacancies, abandoned emptiness. 

Marching regrets inevitable as the 

Corners turned one way or another

Inhabited with almost tangible

Ghosts of lives, lovers, homes

Lost to time and choice, imaginings

of place, moment, whispers of rippling voices

echoing along the avenues, across the years.


About this: Returning after 20 years to what was once a home town, I found that only the geography is permanent. The people, who define and are it’s life, are always transient, cast against a ghostly landscape of other people’s history.

 © Philip Knight 2018