in the lawless hours
when decent folk sleep
something roused me and made me aware
of somebody moving
a foot on the stair.
In that paralysed, half-sleeping, half-waking time
when you just have to move
but you can't, though you try.
Then a constable's whistle, the sound of swift flight
made its way to my ear
in the dead of the night.
'I must go and see, see if all is secure,'
but I lay there pinned by
Then a knock at the door of the chamber once still
and I rose from my bed.
'Who are you?' I cried, 'Who are you,' again
the door slowly opened and
the spectre stood there.
'Who are you?' I cried, 'Who are you,' once more
as she held out
a flask of silver and black.
Silver and black the colours she wore,
Not showing her face
as, insistent, she came.
Silver and black, splendid and terrible,
insistent I take it
the flask that she bore.
I called out, more earnest, 'My husband!' she cried
my wife, now behind me
on our bed by my side.
I turned, and again, and the vision was gone
that woke me so late
weaving argent and ebony.
Now, as I sit in the pale morning light
events of the night
there's a step on the stair outside my door
my spine stiffens and I,
fearing once more
to waken her twice whisper in fright,
'Who are you
that spirit who troubles my night?'