She Foundered: Eighth Wake

Posted by ractrose on 25 Dec 2018 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of wraiths rising between mansard-roofed buildings and iron fence



The Folly






She Foundered


So it may have been, that the sinking of the Bowfin

Reported late, this news carried home

By the merchantman Ceylon, in ’87, the year of the hurricane—

Some said the men were mostly saved

Taken up

By the hundred boats of the pearl fleet—

Ended Mr. Samuels’s part, no guilt attaching

Unable to find proof, did Howitt live

Did Howitt walk

A particular London street

He rabbits round the circumstance

Circumstance, the inspector’s word,

for Annie Chapman’s mauling


But you see, Moss, what I’d done was in pursuit of right. I am not the author of this method, and it has been used. Yes, when it all began, I’d thought they had got it wrong about the stabbings—the ordinary knife violence, I should have said, of a poor district. They would lead themselves astray, the metropolitan police, putting stock in propinquity, and never gather proper evidence. The first day of October, I’d learnt there had been a third found in the same circumstance (as the others like my own). And to think we had made a careful photograph of Wake in his coffin, before we had allowed his stepfather to remove him. In the event, you understand, of some new transgression’s coming to light. Howitt was not a physician, of course. But yet, the prussic acid was his supplying. He kept a number of things, in his shipboard surgery. I had nothing to give Sir Charles but my recollection of his face.


‘Liddie, sir,’ she says, ‘née Watts. That was it, my name.’

De Clieux rises from his chair and bows.

‘By God,’ the host murmurs, ‘I wonder.

Can it be he is living still, the creature?’

‘It would be worthwhile…’

The guest slides the paper knife across a fingertip.

‘…to beat the old boy out of cover.’




She Foundered
RomansCharcoal and pastel drawing of man in aviator's helmet












(2017, Stephanie Foster)