(Hommage à Thomas Hardy)

Once I lived here: the furnishings I found so lovely, are the same. I trespass now: the mistress brings a dearer face, a different name. It is no comfort to me when I watch them at their play; but she has always had a way with men; and why should she remember me? She does not. Yet their drinks turn sour; there is a knocking in the wall; they wait on edge for half-an-hour - but never think of me at all. Oh certainly, they feel no guilt; there is none; but their bedroom floor bears one square foot where blood was spilt and, scrubbed in vain, is scrubbed no more. Their curtains billow (that is I) and there are corners where they freeze whatever clothes or coal they buy. Whom do they blame for their unease? Behind their wainscot, where the noise of knocking is: how can they fail, for all the firebank of their joys, to think of bones, and guess them male? When toward for love their secret door (that bars not now, nor shelters me) gapes at them like a silent roar: what is the shadow they half-see? How can they fail to know the place is haunted? - and that in between the flesh and flesh, the face and face, another will be, is, has been? If I disturb their love, that is the helpless mischief of the ghost: once I enjoyed what now are his: join me, my friend, and cap the boast! What I am, you are to become; and meanwhile, I will tell you this: although my loving lips are dumb, or sough because they cannot kiss, never imagine that you own more of this messuage than do I, while mine is that alert of bone and mine the stain that will not dry.