Years ago and far away, my friend, Dama Rosa, made her home in a house set near a street corner with a mysterious lamp-post. This dear Portuguese woman seemed ancient to me. From my mature adult perspective, I suspect that good lady might actually have been in her late ’50s or early ’60s, not old at all. Depending on the weather or season and whether it was a clear or foggy night, a full moon or not, the light from the lamp-post on her corner would glow golden, white or gray.
My friend had a mystical explanation for the mutations in color. She hinted that they were due to the changing mood of a sad and ghostly young lady. She claimed to see this person standing in the light every night. She told me a tale of star-crossed lovers and a premature death to explain her ghost. She said she offered rosaries on the ghost’s behalf so that one day the ghost – hopefully named Benedita (little blessing) by Dama Rosa – would break her “chains with the earth” and move on to heaven, “her true home with God.”
Did Dama Rosa really think she saw a ghost or was she just serving a story-loving young guest with a fanciful “side dish” to go with the main course at dinner?
Write a poem or short story about someone – it doesn’t have to be a ghost, female, adult or even human – waiting under a lamp-post every night. Or, write a poem or story to explain why someone might imagine – or perhaps truly see a being (ghost or not) regularly hanging out in an unlikely place. Have fun and take your time. Feel free to clip this photograph if you find it a useful stimulant or want to use it to illustrate your poem or story.
© words and photograph, Jamie Dedes