Wet Ghost – Chris Wallace-Crabbe

I had a lot of memorabilia recently forwarded to me from Australia. That included newspaper clippings I found interesting. One such clipping is of the poem below called Wet Ghost by Chris Wallace-Crabbe. You’ll have to excuse its state of disrepair, but it has traveled many miles to be here.

Wet Ghost

For more information about the Australian poet and professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe, click on the image from Australian Poetry Library below :

Chris Wallace-Crabb

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Reading
17 comments on “Wet Ghost – Chris Wallace-Crabbe
  1. dfolstad58 says:

    Solemn, visual poem. Not one i would memorize but thoughtful.

  2. Bruce says:

    Wondrously bizarre and evocative – and rings so true. If I’m ever in a group where I have to recite a poem, I’m using this one!

  3. badfinger20 says:

    This went where poems or stories don’t usually go… Very interesting subject and I have to wonder what inspired it. Totally original…this is awesome.

    • It’s highly unusual isn’t it, but so poignant. For such an apparently ugly image to be given such rich context, it can make you see the beauty in almost anything. I’m going to read more from Chris Wallace-Crabbe in the coming weeks and see if I can find what inspired it.

  4. badfinger20 says:

    Yes, it is unusual and that is the reason I like it.

  5. macalder02 says:

    Although sometimes I have to fight with the translator to give me a version close to writing, this poem is really very good. I enjoyed it a lot. With your help, I extend my readings of authors I don’t know. Thanks for that opportunity

    • Yo acabe de traducir este poema por una amiga aca. Se quedó un linea que no lo pude traducir bien: ‘Ni disparos ni el gradual’. Abajo es el poema completo:

      Fantasma mojado

      El viejo caballo, lo era
      cayó muerto, se deslizó en la presa
      donde flotaba tan quieto como puede ser
      En forma de un país europeo
      durante meses y meses

      Patos encaramados encima
      Hierba verde brillante
      barbudo el hocico
      de su persistencia marrón,
      caballo inamovible

      Ni disparos ni el gradual
      podría llegar a abolir
      esa extraña isla orgánica:
      lo suscribió el dios
      como un autor cómico;
      pero un día se llegó a la orilla
      luego cayó en pedazos
      de manera normal, un archipiélago mortal

  6. selizabryangmailcom says:

    I like what you say above, that such ugly images can also be beautiful. So true. I love the lines “It underwrote god as a comic author” “a mortal archipelago”

    A read a short story a long time ago about a girl who went to a beach party and didn’t fit in with anyone and wandered off and in the rocks she found a little boy who’d obviously fallen in, his foot caught, floating facedown in the water. And that’s how the story ended, with her observation of this as “the one beauty and the one truth,” or something like that.

    Very strange, but oddly resonating.

    • I suppose like just about anyone else I have read a lot of poems in my life, but few resonate with me as much as ‘Wet Ghost’. I’m glad you liked my description. Those parts you highlighted I also love.

      I would like to read that short story you described. Where did you come across that?

  7. selizabryangmailcom says:

    I know, I would love to read it too! But I read it over 25 years ago and don’t even remember the author’s name, sadly. 😦

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Matthew Kick

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