On “The Ghost” by Dorothea Lasky

Click here to read the poem.

The poem “The Ghost” is about how this man’s life goes downhill until he dies. He doesn’t want to live anymore after all of these bad things happen to him. It uses different ways to describe the way he deals with problems in the poem.

The beginning of the poem represents a man that has died happily and smiling. “Soaring above me in a different sphere, With gold wings, He had a blissful expression, One maybe he never had, Certainly he was always smiling, somewhere, When he died (Line 3–8). He is flying around in a different sphere, meaning that he went to heaven and is in a different part of life. He was smiling when he died because he was happy with how he lived his life and he was happy with moving on from his life. He is above the man in the poem and has wings of gold and has lived a successful life.

When the friend betrays his friend during the wedding, it represents the back stabbings that happen during your life. “I had just gotten betrayed by a friend, I thought was mine, I forgave him, Was more just said, You live through any of it, But what is the red shoulder we long to see, I thought that I too would reach a great canyon (Line 9–15).”He gets betrayed but he lets his friend off the hook because he is his friend and he is a forgiving person, but he thinks about what happens when these things happen. He says a great canyon that everyone reaches. This is the part of life where he has come to this seemingly impossible problem that is impossible to get across. That he is stuck and his life has just come to a stop, unless he can get across the canyon and get passed the problem and move on with his life.

The end of the poem shows the darkness and cruelty of death. “When my father died he went straight up to heaven (20).” His father died and he tries to deal with it the best he can but he can’t handle what is happening in his life. “Heavy air will you hold me, Suspended in the ocean of time, Where I will never see you again, My skin gold and green, Sweet king, you left us, I know it, Dark is dark, The darkness, darnit (30–37).” After his father’s death he breaks down and reaches the canyon that was talked about earlier in the poem. He has given up on life and is saying that he just wants to die for eternity. He wants the ocean of time to suspend him and be held there by heavy winds for ever. He doesn’t want to be apart of the world anymore and he just wants the darkness to engulf him forever.

This poem uses the man’s emotions to describe the way he lives his life and to tell the story of what happened to him on the downfall of his life.


I wanted to figure out the deeper meaning of the poem and learn what the author is saying in the poem. You should care about the things I’m interested in this poem, because they make you think about the big picture of the poem and how it affects the small things. I got my results by reading through the poem and taking notes. Then I thought about the meaning of the poem and how I could make that into a topic sentence. Then I formulated my topic sentence off of the main idea of the poem. Then I connected the topic sentence to three different sections of the poem in my essay and wrote my poem to connect it to the original poem. I learned that every sentence in a poem has a meaning that are all connected to the main idea of the poem. The poem connects its parts in different sections of the poem. When it references the canyon and then at the end it ties it back where he is stuck in his life choices. My conclusions matter in a broader context because they taught me how to analyze a poem and realize what is happening in the poem.

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