David Michael Burrow


Ghosts

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Thirty thousand ghosts
Echo in these hollow walls
Not to haunt
Or frighten
Or chastise
But to share our knowledge
And help us
Understand
We are temporary
Passing images on the screen
Our lives are good and bad
Joyful and euphoric
Wretched and lonely
We will pass
Our sun will rise and set
Ghosts in the great seance
That murmurs in these empty walls
From 1920
To infinity and one
A solid voice of permanance
And we are only cameos
Bit parts that run across the stage
Here today and gone tomorrow
Passing cliches
In the grand oration
Reincarnated every year
To fill these walls again
Thirty thousand ghosts
Whisper words of reassurance
However great our joys may be
However deep our sorrows
We are not unique
We are not alone
Everything has gone before
Everything will be again
And there are only ghosts
In Bartlett Hall.

David M. Burrow
August 11, 1982

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The poem refers to Bartlett Hall, the oldest dormitory on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. Mr. Burrow lived there, as did his grandmother--more than sixty years before. Perhaps she was one of the ghosts in Bartlett Hall.

2003 davidmburrow@yahoo.com
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The background music on this page is "Lady," by the Chicago band Styx. Before they were famous, Styx once played a dance at Mr. Burrow's old high school, MPHS.


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