St. Andrew’s Day: Fourth Pale Knight

Posted by ractrose on 6 Apr 2019 in Art, Poems

pastel drawing head in ancient helmet art for poem St. Andrew's Day



The Folly

The Legend of the Pale Knight





St. Andrew’s Day


She’d been in infirmary with a chest cold by account of the matron

It could be worse

She is very old

These indispositions take the old ones, sudden

But come anyway, Mrs. Devilbiss’ll be that tickled

If she’s feeling up to it

He fears, this is all…ill-advised, his proof, by the porter

Tut-tutted aside

Mrs. Winstanley calls greeting from her desk

And adds: ‘I’ll come along. You’ll stay for elevenses? I confess—’

She confesses her eagerness to hear all this.

‘They’ve every one got a story, you know. Just takes teasing out.’


Do you know that I was born in 1847? So, then…I was rising fourteen.

It was November, 1860, I well recall…St. Andrew’s Day, it was.

My old nurse did put store by such

When there’d be a moon, we girls’d go out for a rendezvous.

Long after curfew, we would. I’d been kept abed with a

spotty fever, but I tiptoed down the hall. And so I lagged

behind my sister…and the hoarfrost

made the meadow bright as daylight. It was a farm pond,

Mr. Evans’s, built up, like…you had to climb getting to the shed

He was a queer sight. For that, my heart never skipped a beat

I’d thought at first the boys were larking…he wore a sort of thing


Old Mrs. Devilbiss makes a gesture, her hand bent to a fixed angle

Passes roughly over her own face

A sort of military helmet, the guest says

Ay, I picture it so

And he raised it

…and there inside was only a great mouth

All black and moaning

Like the adit of a mine, you know




St. Andrew’s Day
collage medieval figures and flight of red birds art for poem The Zone of Prophecy

The Zone of Prophecy: Fifth Pale Knight















(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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