some things are not ghosts,

June 25, 2008 at 6:42 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 41 Comments
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so openminded had he become
that he had drifted off
and did not notice the curtains float open
nor sense her approach
did not feel her lift the book
from his lap and place it on the table
kiss his forehead
whispering good night
before returning to her


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  1. more please!

  2. achingly tender.

    living here in this box, we’re all ghosts of one sort or another aren’t we?

    where does he wander when its his turn to ghost…

  3. WOW!

    Wow. Am I speechless, or Am I Speechless?

    The imagery is as powerful as a bomb – except the types that heal and not kill. Aye, no such types in reality, except in the words which poets like you use – transforming mere symbols and common imageries and clichéd languages into a magical potion; one that is more potent and mind-blowing than the most openminded of books.

  4. oooh love this. it has a wonderful feel and flow. i found myself totally lost in it. i agree. i want more.

  5. I can only agree with the others and say what a wonderful piece this is. I’m not too sure I’m as wrapped up in the symbolism as I am intrigued by the concept. I think you’ve captured a complex interpersonal dynamic – the ‘ghost’ effect. I’m guilty of this right now – mind open/mind closed. There’s just no winning!

    Thanks, it provided fuel for reflection.


    ps. Thanks again for reposting my ‘time’ comment. I’m honoured.

  6. openminded.. what a pleasant thought.. brush of the curtain… as one enters the room… great scene setter… is he the elder who lives at the other end of life his mind drifting and his wife the caregiver… it could be a 100 tender moments lived under a writer’s hand…

  7. Even though this is simple beautiful elegance, it achieves that by words that many would dismiss as superfluous for such a succinct moment but, of course, that is your mastery. Wonderful.

  8. Wow! That just took my breath away.

  9. God damn this is good.

  10. Ghosts, dreams,
    the ether that haunts the in- betweens,
    where flesh is bound to memories
    and passed down in secret rooms like these, while nodding merely for a nap
    with an open book in a well worn lap,
    whether haunted or undaunted,
    we wake to remember we are not alone.
    Mine is the hand that pours the brandy
    and offers a cognac cigar
    for moments that are sweet as candy
    though time and space be far.
    The lady’s perfume still lingers here
    and the tick of the clock drags by
    As a ghost, I have lingered too long myself
    time has come for me to fly.

  11. Oh I LOVE this…

  12. This is beautiful, dainty & tender. Well done.

  13. moving moving moving, beautiful thank you

    when does your book come out???

    can this be on a t-shirt?

  14. Thanks everybody for your wonderful comments. The book is taking forever to get published. I am leaning toward an independent production, creating my own imprint, like a musician would create an independent label. It is another fascinating subject and I might write about that next week too. But if it keeps dragging on I think I will go the independent route. If it works I can use the imprint to publish all my friends too, an anthology with all of you would be cool.
    This can be on a tshirt, no problem, would you like me to make one for you?

  15. Wow, very lovely. Sounds like she drifted out of the book.

    Ps. Left you a present on my blog. (grin)
    That is a wonderful present, thankyou,

  16. I adore the pictures you paint for us Paul. You are far more amazing than you give yourself credit for.
    AMBER!!!! woohoo,

  17. this reminded me for some reason of ishmael and queeniqueg in moby dick. at least for some reason, i chose those characters for the story. the “her life” part at the end brought me the most curiousity. i love the sensations attending this poem, its marvelous.
    Thankyou Mrs Ott.

  18. i have moby dick out to read for this summer. now i will see if mrs sarah ott is right!
    I have no doubt that Mrs Ott is right, she always is. So no tshirt then? I was just about to build it for you.

  19. lovely one this…

  20. sad sad sad,
    perhaps the truest thing of all the true things you have written. heart-breaking, devistating, deceptive simplicity.

    thanks for this.

  21. Now I’m the one going back to reread…I think this is my favorite…ever.

  22. I love the gentle way you touch upon a painful snapshot moment. I found this beautiful.


  24. A lovely moment, a tender poem. A true kind of love, with touch and sensuality, but caring for the other. The way he didn’t see her reminds me of Psyche coming in the night to love.

    PS I have a friend who published her own book, created a label called Patchwork Farms Press, and ended up winning a Writer’s Digest prize.

  25. Paul –

    From your first word, I am a captive audience, held gently in anticipation and wonder, knowing I’m going to marvel at what you show me next!

    I just love the way you write poetry. I can learn from you; I’m already learning from you.

    Thank you!

    From my heart,

  26. ArtPredator,
    well since you’ll be reading moby dick and comparing the poem, you’ll need to omit the hers for hims. the decided characters for this poem, in my mind, had been decided by the first line and then had to forgive the her for a him (as you’ll see in the book). enjoy, its a fascinating read; but requires a full order of patience.
    Pauls, sorry to crowd your comments. I hope no offense is taken. And no, I havent had the chance to catch a fish just yet. But it is less of my luck than of my skill. i am still so new to the sport! i’m enjoying it still, thank you.

  27. Hi Paul,

    Would you mind if I copy/paste this poem and send it to a few colleagues, with full credit and reference to you of course? I obviously can’t disclose our employer, but I can say that it’s a certain British institution with strong links to linguistics and literary theory. Several of them are also published authors, writers and poets.

    Let me know – I won’t do it without your permission.


  28. Thanks again for your wonderful comments. I’ld be honoured if you shared my poem with your colleagues, Terry. Let me know if you get any interesting feedback. It might be a little simple for such highbrow thinkers though?

  29. paul, i have only heard good words about cafe press and in fact the burning moms have shirts and stuff there.

    i’m just not a pay pal gal and isn’t that how the money part of it works? maybe i will be motivated to overcome my fears with the reward of your marvelous poem

    and mrs sarah ott, moby dick has been waiting patiently there on my to read list, continuously usurped by shorter reads and my own writing projects but i will keep your wise words in mind!

  30. “…returning to her life”, safe but somehow scary…Deliciousness of having a territory gates of which keeps one in , all others out…What makes this scary is the aloneness, maybe…

  31. Due to unprecedented demand (haha) this poem is available on a tshirt at the gingaTao store. You can pay by any credit card but not Paypal.
    Here is a link to the tshirt.
    The ‘somethings are not ghosts’ tshirt.

  32. yay Paul!! I checked it out, very cool!

    how much more to get or some such? or the gingatao logo? it should at least have your name on it somewhere..

    and is it black text on white??

    these things matter we know esp as we are looking for work and thanks again for your letter of reference, so kind, so generous, so outrageous

  33. and grateful!!

    we can’t forget grateful

    and appreciative always
    Me too, grateful and appreciative, I forgot to put the logo on, sorry. The domain name I wonder I why should pay for at all? I probably should but you know, grateful, appreciative, lazy, hope you are having as much fun as I am, woohoo,

  34. […] PS My next shirt purchase will be by Paul Squire (aka GingaTao). If you can’t read it here, the original poem can be found on the blog “hello,” […]

  35. Gosh, this reminded me of a housekeeper or a caregiver somehow, not a ghost 😦

  36. this is so cool

  37. This was at the top when I popped on to your site…glad of it too. 🙂

  38. I love the play between the title and the poem… great writers know how to work every ounce of space they’ve got… and you’ve worked it here, Mr. Squires.

  39. Paul, I could see this happening. It’s perfect.

  40. Thinking of you today, Paul. As you know, I always loved this poem. Thanks for making it into a t-shirt for me. I still need to order it from Cafe Press. One of these days, you’ll stumble on me wearing it.

  41. […] some things are not ghosts, […]

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