The table was set for five at the most:
Four for my family and one for the ghost.
The trickery started when dad said grace
a spoonful of soup splashed up in his face!
Our mouths were gaping in utter surprise
as he wiped the tomato from out of his eyes.
A moment later the pepper pot flew
into the mire of Lancashire stew.
Everyone sneezed as the dust hit our noses.
This mealtime was definitely becoming atrocious.
When mum's roast potatoes turned into rocks
she very nearly jumped out of her socks.
Then the gravy oozed off my plate.
(I wondered what would be it's fate.)
It oozed, like an amoeba, onto the floor
where it grew one hundred times, or more.
It had peas for eyes, and carrots for teeth
My sister fainted in disbelief.
Mum surprised us, for in a flash
she carved her knife in a swash-buckling slash.
The gravy-monster paused for an instant of time
before splashing to the floor in a puddle of slime.
'Was it over?' we wondered in silence, or
were we destined for something more?
I dared not move, and hardly breathed,
but I could see our mum seethed.
The dinner she'd cooked lay everywhere - ruined -
even the pot she had made the stew in!
She challenged the perpetrator to show his face,
and at least to have the very good grace
to clear up the mess that it had made,
and to re-lay the table as it had been laid!
Amazingly, it did as it was told,
and then was so exceedingly bold:
It lay the table for an extra place
putting a chair in a convenient space!
Nervously we sat for the second time that night,
but this time everything went all right.
The ghost wouldn't mess with mum anymore -
not when it would have to mop the floor...
And ever after, when we had a roastwe lay a place for the invisible ghost!