A poem, written in 1917 by Edna St. Milay and appearing in the short collection Renascence and Other Poems. Unlike some of her more introverted and often allegorical poems, this one offers a somewhat glib and spry story about a ghost.
The narrator spies the "little" ghost (presumably a young girl) dressed in fancy clothes. She then describes the girl as acting very proper, wearing "austere" lace gloves, and having a "conscious garden grace." The ghost would not feel out of place at high tea amongst Edna's fellow socialites.
A delightful little poem, full of crisp imagery and a bewitching nature. It's interesting that despite Milay's sadness, there's no sense of loss or regret on the part of the ghost or the narrator.
I knew her for a little ghost
That in my garden walked;
The wall is high—higher than most—
And the green gate was locked.
And yet I did not think of that
Till after she was gone—
I knew her by the broad white hat,
All ruffled, she had on.
By the dear ruffles round her feet,
By her small hands that hung
In their lace mitts, austere and sweet,
Her gown's white folds among.
I watched to see if she would stay,
What she would do—and oh!
She looked as if she liked the way
I let my garden grow!
She bent above my favourite mint
With conscious garden grace,
She smiled and smiled—there was no hint
Of sadness in her face.
She held her gown on either side
To let her slippers show,
And up the walk she went with pride,
The way great ladies go.
And where the wall is built in new
And is of ivy bare
She paused—then opened and passed through
A gate that once was there.