Vistor in worsted wool

At times the ghost of past mistakes
comes late at night to visit;
he whispers to remind me:
about the paths I should have chosen;
about the things I’ve said or deeds
I did and didn’t do.

The ghost of past mistakes is dressed
in worsted wool and
wears a scarlet bow tie
and a cane;
his scent is that of cod and camphor
and he never stays for long.

I never hear a word he says;
but still I understand and comprehend
the things I’ve done and not.
— At times I cannot sleep.

Portrait of a man in a bow tie by Anton Azbe

We write poetry about visits at dVerse tonight. Lilian hosts.

December 5, 2017

44 responses to “Vistor in worsted wool

  1. Ah….very Marley-ish indeed! I love your description of him. hmmmm…the ghost of past mistakes. I’d find that haunting…I’m always reminded not to “ruminate” — as in look forward, expect the best. I think I would do my best to to push him out of my life, camphor scent and all. Perhaps a hot water bottle at my feet and a lavendar sachet ‘neath my pillow! 🙂
    Excellent response to the prompt!

  2. The Pantaloons, a travelling theatre group, performed A Christmas Carol in our village hall on Saturday. It was an abridged version, with few props, but such fun. Your ‘ghost of past mistakes’ reminds me of the ghost of Christmas past but I think he might also be related to the aged librarian, Bjorn, a kind of aged bookkeeper of life..I love the detail of the worsted wool, scarlet bow tie and especially the scent of cod and camphor!

  3. Very appropriate- we were doing a whole day of workshops at school today on “A Christmas Carol”. I think you should invite the spirit in for a glass of mulled wine and explain that without those past mistakes your trajectory on this planet would not be the same as it is. It may well be that they were a necessary part of the journey.

  4. Such a thoughtful poem. Sometimes we don’t fully comprehend the consequences of our actions I think but we still know what we did and didn’t. Perhaps our conscience always reminds us.

  5. Every night, as family and friends pass away, the queue for specters grows longer; yet in my dreams, the departed and I carry on like they are still with me; perhaps they are.

  6. I wonder what that image/visage of the ghost means to you. Was it your father? Was it a teacher? Someone you knew? Usually our ghosts are based on someone that we knew. You were quite specific in your description, so it made me wonder.

    And the smell.

    I think the smell would be the thing to get me cause you would know every time he was there.

    • The image of him is a mashup of different persons (even those I never met)… to a great deal my father of course (he would have been a hundred years old this year)… the bow tie especially. The scent of camphor is from my grandfather’s old clothes that I took over. But the cod was more something ghastly I added….

      • Our own monsters/ghosts always make the best as far as details because we are very familiar with them.

  7. Amazing what runs through our minds in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep. I guess with the red bowtie he knows you won’t forget!

  8. He never stays for long…but the scent remains. I never hear a word he says….but I hear and comprehend….the scent remains. I really like this. Accusations are quick and sharp, but scents linger on.

  9. This is a most relatable experience, yet you describe it in such an unusual way. That smell, especially, of cod and camphor, lingers like the sickening feeling brought on by acknowledging mistakes. Very well done.

  10. past mistakes would keep anyone awake … but still the scent “of cod and camphor” lingers long after the person is gone and that alone would keep sleep at bay. love the poem.

  11. The unspoken voice of the mistakes…this is chilling and true. You made me feel it in my bones.

  12. scents are the greatest memory triggers, i read your words and thought about my grandpa, he always smelled of cod liver oil, beautiful poem Bjorn.

  13. Well, these ghosts visits all of us but it’s no use keeping regrets in life. We should move on without letting ghosts shadow our lives. I love the way you describe the ghosts with scarlet bow tie 🙂

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