Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

A Poem by Patrick Westfall –

  • Sitting in my study,
    drawing upon a pipe of clay,
    Simply sitting, smoking softly
    I endure the remaining day.
  • Harder still, fell the rain
    against the glassless pane.
    Louder still was heard the rapping,
    tapping of his cane.
  • As I rose to bid him in
    I reeled at the sight,
    he was already there, beside my chair
    and he brought with him the night.
  • “Sir,” said he respectfully,
    “if I may speak free,
    a scotch and smoke in trade for tale
    this night I’d share with thee.”
  • His manner calm as he sat
    upon the moistened floor,
    and as he lit his pipe,
    I gazed out upon the moor.
  • Not a word said he
    for at least an hour more,
    “Speak up my man, out with your tale,
    this I do implore!”
  • But when he spoke aloud
    and ceased his muted way,
    his tale chilled both my bone and blood
    and stole my breath away.
  • “Joseph Craig Dobler,
    employed me but a year,
    I took his life, and then his wife
    as my own to love so dear.
  • But alas! She knows the truth at last,
    it is so she screams,
    Dobler’s ghost has come to her,
    he speaks into her dreams.
  • His spirit shall haunt and spook,
    wherever I may be,
    already twice this night,
    upon the moor was he.
  • Such is how I came
    into your house so free,
    for when next he comes I’ll surely die
    but with sin confessed to thee.”
  • The wind did gust and blow
    through the glassless pane,
    and it seemed we both could hear
    the rapping, tapping of a cane.
  • The man stood up as if to leave
    but could not find the nerve,
    and as he looked into the night,
    I watched his body swerve.
  • Then we both grew chill as the knob
    into my dwelling turned,
    “What demon from Hell, had arisen,
    its body blackened, burned?”
  • But the knob it stopped and then was heard
    upon the door so plain,
    louder, louder came the rapping,
    tapping of his cane.
  • “No more! No more!”
    he cried with palms upturned.
    I could not bear to see its face
    and body blackened, burned!
  • The man turned in horror and fell out
    through the glassless pane,
    nevermore to suffer the terrible
    tapping of the cane.
  • Oh how I loathe, even now,
    the sound of rain upon the plain,
    for now I always seem to hear the rapping,
    tapping of a cane!

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