A FOURTH OF JULY GHOST
On July Fifth at Charon’s ferry,
Near Peter’s gate,
Two spirits met. Note closely very
The place and date.
‘Twas July Fifth, as I have stated,
These spirits met,
On July Fourth they’d celebrated—
Ah, vain regret!
By that lone shore at Charon’s ferry
These spirits meet;
And they are somewhat fragmentary
One spirit by the other lingers
Like ghosts bereft;
Says One to Two, “How many fingers
Have you still left?”
“I have three fingers,” says the other,
“And what have you?”
“Alas!” he says, “my friend and brother,
I have but two.”
“How many ribs are still remaining
Intact to you?”
I have four ribs—I aint’ complaining,”
Says Number Two.
“I have one ear, one eye, a fraction
Of one backbone,
A partial nose unfit for action,”
Says Number One.
“I have three teeth, one lung, one shoulder
One eye, like you,
One leg—but one’s enough to hold yer,”
Says Number Two.
“Let us two coalesce and mingle,”
Says One to Two;
“We are too fragmentary single,
Now what say you?”
“Says Two to One,” With acclamation
I hail your plan;
For two of us in combination
Will make one man.”
And so to make themselves completer
They rolled in one;
And looking on did good St. Peter
Exclaim, “Well done!
“Now enter in, henceforth inherit
Rest without sin.”
Then the consolidated spirit
Did enter in.
The poem echoes the constant theme of Fourth of July casualties and disasters we find in the vintage press–and even today. See this post from Strange Company which shows how the holiday really went with a bang. Mrs Daffodil also has a post on an attempt to have A Safe and Sane Fourth.
I wish those who celebrate it, a very happy and safe Independence Day–three cheers for the red, white, and boo!
Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com. Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead.