GHOSTS OF A LUNATIC ASYLUM
by: Stephen Vincent Benét
where men's eyes were empty and as bright
- As the blank windows set in glaring brick,
- When the wind strengthens from the sea--and night
- Drops like a fog and makes the breath come thick;
- By the deserted paths, the vacant hills,
- One may see figures, twisted shades and lean,
- Like the mad shapes that crawl on Indian screen,
- Or paunchy smears you find on prison walls.
- Turn the knob gently! There's the Thumbless Man,
- Still weaving glass and silk into a dream,
- Although the wall shows through him--and the Khan
- Journeys Cathay beside a paper stream.
- A Rabbit Woman chitters by the door--
- --Chilly the grave-smell comes from the turned sod--
- Come--lift the curtain--and be cold before
- The silence of the eight men who were God!
MORE POEMS BY BENÉT
'Ghosts of a Lunatic Asylum' was
originally published by Stephen Vincent Benét in 1918.