Familiar: Fifth Tattersby

Posted by ractrose on 2 Jan 2019 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of unhappy man wearing cap



The Folly








All these ordinary things are giving way

Times of late, like the dead wrapped their winding sheets

Familiar in outline still

But disintegrating into melt and worm beneath

He feels infected with the guest’s unhappy mood

Uses the word, not having spoken with de Clieux

He thinks the time is now to broach disturbance

The time is near…the time grown urgent

He gazes at the sky to hold this in

‘They’re loose,’ he murmurs


Faithful Inskip won’t go home

His housekeeper is waving far below

A duster like a signal-flag, up and down

Her smock a sack of ticking in the door frame

‘Bugger the woman,’ he shockingly says

But too under his breath, and moves

Again without manners, brusquely pushing through

to catch Mrs. Tattersby

And though the host would have said she never will

She needs poor Dougal’s help

She gives a scream

A shallow skin of humus girds the summit

A clayey baste of tufted grass and pine straw

Here hundreds of white butterflies or moths

Have risen and still rise

Her face cannot be seen

Her garments seethe




Pastel drawing of hilly landscape with dramatic rock formations

As Lightning Might: Sixth Tattersby
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(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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