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A Chilly Night - Poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti (Christina Rossetti)

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I rose at the dead of night And went to the lattice alone To look for my Mother's ghost Where the ghostly moonlight shone. My friends had failed one by one, Middleaged, young, and old, Till the ghosts were warmer to me Than my friends that had grown cold. I looked and I saw the ghosts Dotting plain and mound: They stood in the blank moonlight But no shadow lay on the ground; They spoke without a voice And they leapt without a sound. I called: ' O my Mother dear, ' — I sobbed: ' O my Mother kind, Make a lonely bed for me And shelter it from the wind: ' Tell the others not to come To see me night or day; But I need not tell my friends To be sure to keep away. ' My Mother raised her eyes, They were blank and could not see; Yet they held me with their stare While they seemed to look at me. She opened her mouth and spoke, I could not hear a word While my flesh crept on my bones And every hair was stirred. She knew that I could not hear The message that she told Whether I had long to wait Or soon should sleep in the mould: I saw her toss her shadowless hair And wring her hands in the cold. I strained to catch her words And she strained to make me hear, But never a sound of words Fell on my straining ear. From midnight to the cockcrow I kept my watch in pain While the subtle ghosts grew subtler In the sad night on the wane. From midnight to the cockcrow I watched till all were gone, Some to sleep in the shifting sea And some under turf and stone: Living had failed and dead had failed And I was indeed alone. Christina Georgina Rossetti P

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