Our Little Ghost

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Our Little Ghost  (1875) 
by Louisa May Alcott
From The Horn of Plenty of Home Poems and Home Pictures, published in 1875 by W.F. Gill and Company. First published in The Flag of Our Union (a weekly) Issue: September 15, 1866 [vol. 21, no. 37].

OFT, in the silence of the night,
   When the lonely moon rides high,
When wintry winds are whistling,
   And we hear the owl's shrill cry,
In the quiet, dusky chamber,
   By the flickering firelight,
Rising up between two sleepers,
   Comes a spirit all in white.

A winsome little ghost it is,
   Rosy-cheeked, and bright of eye;
With yellow curls all breaking loose
   From the small cap pushed awry.
Up it climbs among the pillows,
   For the "big dark" brings no dread,
And a baby's boundless fancy
   Makes a kingdom of a bed.

A fearless little ghost it is;
   Safe the night seems as the day;
The moon is but a gentle face,
   And the sighing winds are gay.
The solitude is full of friends,
   And the hour brings no regrets;
For, in this happy little soul,
   Shines a sun that never sets.

A merry little ghost it is,
   Dancing gayly by itself,
On the flowery counterpane,
   Like a tricksy household elf;
Nodding to the fitful shadows,
   As they flicker on the wall;
Talking to familiar pictures,
   Mimicking the owl's shrill call.

A thoughtful little ghost if is;
   And, when lonely gambols tire,
With chubby hands on chubby knees,
   It sits winking at the fire.
Fancies innocent and lovely
   Shine before those baby-eyes, --
Endless fields of dandelions,
   Brooks, and birds, and butterflies.

A loving little ghost it is:
   When crept into its nest,
Its hand on father's shoulder laid,
   Its head on mother's breast,
It watches each familiar face,
   With a tranquil, trusting eye;
And, like a sleepy little bird,
   Sings its own soft lullaby.

Then those who feigned to sleep before,
   Lest baby play till dawn,
Wake and watch their folded flower --
   Little rose without a thorn.
And, in the silence of the night,
   The hearts that love it most
Pray tenderly above its sleep,
   "God bless our little ghost!"

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.