If Spirits Walk

By Sophie Jewett 1861–1909 Sophie Jewett

“I have heard (but not believed) the spirits of the dead
May walk again.”
Winter’s Tale

If spirits walk, Love, when the night climbs slow   
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,   
      Be sure that I shall take the self-same way   
      To the hill-crest, and shoreward, down the gray,   
Sheer, gravelled slope, where vetches straggling grow.

Look for me not when gusts of winter blow,   
When at thy pane beat hands of sleet and snow;
   I would not come thy dear eyes to affray,
               If spirits walk.

But when, in June, the pines are whispering low,   
And when their breath plays with thy bright hair so
      As some one's fingers once were used to play—
      That hour when birds leave song, and children pray,
Keep the old tryst, sweetheart, and thou shalt know   
               If spirits walk.

Source: The Poems of Sophie Jewett (1910)

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Poet Sophie Jewett 1861–1909

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Ghosts & the Supernatural, Love, Relationships, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Born in Moravia, New York, poet Sophie Jewett was the daughter of a country doctor. Her childhood was marked by loss and displacement. When she was seven years old, her mother died, and Jewett was summoned from sleep to observe her passing; her father died two years later. After his death, Jewett and her three siblings moved to Buffalo to live with their uncle and grandmother, both of whom died during Jewett’s adolescence.

Jewett . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Ghosts & the Supernatural, Love, Relationships, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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