Yesterday Upon The Stair

Stairwell

by Richard Watson Gilder

BY this stairway narrow, steep,
Thou shalt climb from song to sleep;
From sleep to dream and song once more;—
Sleep well, sweet friend, sleep well, dream deep.

Antigonish [I met a man who wasn’t there]

Hughes Mearns (1875 – 1965)
 
 

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door… (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away..


The concept of a one-hit wonder is usually applied to pop-songs, but the same can be said of novelists and poets.  Hughes Mearns’ poem Antigonish, is an example of a one hit wonder, as I can’t find any other poems attributed to him that have survived in the common domain.   This little nursery rhyme like poem apparently had quite an influence on some children in the English speaking world, maybe because of its slightly scary imagery and the fact that children and adults are sometimes afraid of things that don’t exist in the dark.  Antigonish is about the bogeyman who makes the hair on the back of our necks stand up.  David Bowie’s rock song is rumored to have been influenced by this poem and if you listen to the lyrics, there are similarities, whether it is intentional or by coincidence is up for debate.  


The Bogeyman

By Jack Prelutsky 
 
In the desolate depths of a perilous place
the bogeyman lurks, with a snarl on his face.
Never dare, never dare to approach his dark lair
for he’s waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.
 
He skulks in the shadows, relentless and wild
in his search for a tender, delectable child.
With his steely sharp claws and his slavering jaws
oh he’s waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.
 
Many have entered his dreary domain
but not even one has been heard from again.
They no doubt made a feast for the butchering beast
and he’s waiting . . . just waiting . . . to get you.
 
In that sulphurous, sunless and sinister place
he’ll crumple your bones in his bogey embrace.
Never never go near if you hold your life dear,
for oh! . . . what he’ll do . . . when he gets you!

 

Published by

A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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