Truth for the Victim: Fifth Wake

Posted by ractrose on 7 Dec 2018 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of working class woman, feeling defiant



The Folly






Truth for the Victim


Wake has become lost

Three summonings have failed to raise him


‘But,’ M. de Clieux says, ‘the case is odd. This woman,

…like them all,’ he laughs, ‘confuses me.

What is the dénouement?’

To the expert (that nobleman from Rennes)

in dead languages, the guest nods. ‘That we have yet to learn.

Some private notes of Mr. Samuels were found

Hid in the cabinet of a county magistrate…for what it’s worth,

your host,’ he adds, ‘is author of the pamphlet.

That account, I mean, of the buried crime in Bristol.

Published 1912.’

‘Yes.’ The host supplies an unforthcoming smile.

For modesty, or that he finds it irritating still.

‘Crothers wanted a full retelling…and I deem murder,

as a subject, uncompelling.’

‘Yet I suppose the Whitechapel victims will always be of interest.’


Souls in purgatory, or in limbo, as with other party guests,

Find the thrilling controversy cannot go unaddressed.


The voice that emerges from the chatter is a woman’s

She is not the Celt

She is not Wake’s other self, as de Clieux had doubted she might be

‘In a sort of way—Wake will tell you this as well—he and I

have long been married.’

She…you do not know her name…she has one.

She patches a living for herself, as best she can.

Fear she can’t afford, that too, is for the well-to-do

All smiling men are equal in her sight, no chore demeans her

If it gets her lodging for the night


One in a cell weaves his tale of revenge

One eyeless corpse washed ashore from a wreck

One known in full by an arm and a leg

One with a gun by himself in the woods

One gazes last on a view from a cliff

One bit by bit freezes stiff on the street

One in delirium strangles in bed

Dead, in their hundreds, without law or forgiveness

Will you demand it then?

Truth for the victim




Truth for the Victim

Charcoal and pastel drawing of Victorian Inspector Samuels, feeling dismayed

Each Nerve
















(2017, Stephanie Foster)