Alastair Aisgill

Boy to Ghost

I dream that I am coming home once more and wonder if my spirit lingers near the houses as, cycling in the darkness down the lane, I see the kitchen light from out the door and know my mother is within, her caring hands preparing the meal that I will eat before the stairway beckons me to rest.

Does someone, now the living owner of the land, glance out and feel the presence of a wraith that lingers by the gate where the ancient trees once stood? Does he or she have knowledge of the history of this place? And if they do can they think of gas lamps, latches to the doors, bare stone walls and limestone flags so cold to feet, coal or paraffin for heat? Do they know the cancerous deaths that dogged the footsteps of all who dwelt within these walls? …And may do still.

I walk in sleep the land which once I strode for real. The Beacon with my father’s wooden seat on which he sat to smoke his pipe and beyond, Long Furlong, wild, untamed where Jinnie went to bear her calves and which in turn leads to No-Man’s-Land, the creepy path that no man seems to want. The Dean, where bluebells bloom beneath the arching trees wherein I dozed and dreamed of ventures yet to come; or Glyde’s Field where I played the cowboy games of adolescence, a solitary boy and his imaginary girlfriend, Helen.

Perhaps the ghosts that people often say they see are but the apparitions of those elsewhere who dream of childhood sixty years ago and linger sadly where they know they felt the warmth of happiness and a future bright and clear.

Alastair Aisgill © 2008