Virginia Keltenham: First Pale Knight

Posted by ractrose on 17 Mar 2019 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of intelligent woman wearing spectacles



The Folly

The Legend of the Pale Knight





Virginia Keltenham


‘Those deadly people. They’d like me a bit Elinor Glyn-ish

But then they want sentiment. But then, of course,

they don’t. They want some dismal comeuppance

for bad behaviour, a heroine like one of Lawrence’s

stultifying Magdalene figures. I suppose you can guess what

must lead up to all that.

Trout is with me. I’d ordered him to stay behind.

Sort of help you get these days.’

Pointed, this remark. Aimed at one standing nearby,

Heard to emit a priggish laugh

‘Roscoe…’ the guest clears his throat, and as at once she says,

‘I can’t hear a thing! Speak up!’

answers, ‘Virginia! Are you hearing me now?’

Footballers are chorusing, and the Ram’s Arms’ faulty service

Bloops and stutters

A voice breaks through to them, burbling like a dying man’s

Ventilator hose

Ask me anything

‘Leave,’ the guest tries.

Call that asking, do you? I may. I might.


‘Does it shock you a little, that I satirize my own

poor œuvre? But I mean to travesty yours—fair warning

That is, I’ve got to have it, your story of the pale knight.

Not to actively poach, my dear…but you’d said to me it is truly frightening.

I suppose,’ Virginia cups the receiver, ‘it’s all right if I insult Roscoe? Because

he’s not been a very public-spirited spectre.

As a matter of fact—dare I say?—silent as the you-know-what.

Trout, who rather inspires mischief, I’m afraid…even my darling Trout

has felt quite at peace, turning one of the cellars into a darkroom.’

‘Have a go,’ the guest shrugs, but feels given a nudge

The words a whisper echoed in his ear




Virginia Keltenham
Charcoal and pastel drawing of half-skull half-flesh head

An Ordinary Signal Drop













(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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