26 October 2008

Manic Monday - Ghost

I've mentioned in the past that I learned to read at a ridiculously early age. Today's prompt fits right in with this fact as the first poem that totally grabbed by imagination did so when I was five. It was Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman. What wildly imaginative child wouldn't have been captured by, "The Moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas."

This poem now has been read, reread, and spoken aloud to children of two more generations. Decades later my eyes still widen waiting for what happens next with Tim the ostler lurking in the dark ready to betray the lovers, the laughing, crude redcoats bent on capturing the highwayman, and it still captures me everytime in the telling of the repetitive:

Look for me by moonlight
Wait for me by moonlight
I'll come to thee by moonlight
Though hell should bar the way
Courtesy of Mo and Manic Monday, I just discovered that one of the great Celtic singers of our time, Lorena Mckennit has recorded a musical version. If you know the poem, enjoy. If you have never met the Highwayman or "Bess the landlord's black eyed daughter", settle back ready to shiver at

"Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!"
and their ghostly story that now has been repeating every night for more than a century.

And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding— Riding—riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Welcome to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by the new MM HQ at Manic Monday the blog.


maryt/theteach said...

Jamie, excellent post on a wonderful poem. Thanks for the musical version. And thank you for the correction at my post... I appreciate that you read my posts so closely! :)

anthonynorth said...

Ah, the romanticism of the period - in more ways than one.
Loved this.

Anonymous said...

WOW, that's descriptive...and it does send chills my way.

Travis said...

I had never read the whole poem. The musical version was a wonderful introduction.

My Autism Insights said...

What a great post! I love this Lorena Mckennit version - I used to play it all the time for my yoga classes. Thanks so much for the Youtube link! Happy Monday!

Linda said...

People just don't write like that anymore, do they? What a great poem and it does indeed send chills up one's spine!

Polly said...

I like Lorena McKennit and I like poetry, but had heard neither of these. Hmm...

"The Moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas."
You're right...a great line.

onangelwings said...

I love Lorena too. This is beautiful.

Ivanhoe said...

So romantic... Just like Shakespeare :o)

After Hours said...

Such beautiful poetry... awesome :)

Alice said...

This is a fabulous choice for Manic Monday's Ghost Post. Well done.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Alice at I Was Born2Cree8

Marilyn said...

What a prodigy you were! I love that poem, but it's so sad.