Newtons: First Battle Stations

Posted by ractrose on 16 Feb 2019 in Art, Poems

Pencil and pastel drawing of woman and man feeling distressed



The Folly

Battle Stations







A handful of possible

A handful of…reasonable

A handful…well…

Of fair, say…

Ways you could explain

Had done for the Newtons

Baffled round the dire smell, hinting, not insisting…

Possible, reasonable, fair…why, then, likelihood?

(But just perhaps…and coming down to it…) a sort of cotton-wool

Like if it was in a poem, it might be

Said…neither mister nor missus ever been

But cautious-minded folk, quiet-living…married very young

At war’s end, Adamson, buying up property went

And left her Lem his man-in-charge

Nell Newton to herself don’t mind

The saying of a plain thing…Lem’s uncle is an awful tartar

Lem’s uncle goes and puts the rents up

Says it’s hard times, says let them try

They bloody well won’t, doing better


But they might…

Just this past spring, and just to show…

If Adamson, beside himself, should force the door

(…show no want of willingness to do a Newton’s part)

There was, across the way, that suicide

And wasn’t it Lem ran to fetch the corner bobby?

The sight of it, on the flocking, on the damask…

And wasn’t it Nell sat with old Mrs. Combles…?


And wasn’t it Adamson himself

Said, a month ago, ‘See to those mousetraps, Nelly! What a fug!

Tell me you can’t keep a lodger in that room upstairs…!’


She’d felt giddy, mice

Mice, Lem, she’d said to him, suppose it only is?

Later, they’d allowed it might be sausage

And sauerkraut and such…who knew?

With them foreign types?

Yes…there’d been another trouble

Krug’s window could be seen to crawl with flies





Pastel drawing cabinet in yellow room with ghost
Who Owns This House
Calmacott’s Brother

















(2019, Stephanie Foster)




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