Men (second): Ninth German Spy

Posted by ractrose on 5 Jun 2020 in Art, Poems

Digital painting of two interrogators sitting on table




The Folly

The German Spy





Men (second)


Some speak her language

She hears them on tiptoes

Speak the other side of glass and mesh

A harsh sea agate blue squints and growls at the sun

Of other sights to see none

She wishes they would speak of Agnes

These guardians

Share their gossip, marvel

If there is anything marvellous in her imprisonment

She came to Serna not strongly literate

Knowledge was to her the world away from home

Whatever might be in it

Perhaps in this the moral to the myth

Would you now not trade the world for a map?

Would you learn to speak English…can you do it?

To dos Santos she had frankly said, I barely read and write

He scratched his chin…no? Well, you may be trained

A man and woman came to force the daily drill

One American one British

Don’t sit there stupid, listen

Hours in the locked room

I go, I shall go, I have gone, I went

Why so? Why not?

I learn, I am learning, I will learn, I have learnt


Odd then, to know a foreign alphabet

And not her own

Odd to be free, and a wife (which she has never been)

A lecturer’s wife, young parvenue

Modelling a baroness’s parure

At a charitable afternoon

Charming little thing

Do you mind, dear…where are you from?


Then Lord Atherleigh

She has aimed at him the swirl of her skirt

The nape of her neck

A glance and a pinkening of cheeks

She can manage even that

I pity her, she hears one say

That man

He might be her grandfather

She makes her eyes wide and clear

Do you wonder I’ve been staring at you

So rude, I’m very sorry, but…




Men (second)

Oil painting of spectators watching laboratory burnPlain and Ugly Terms
















(2018, Stephanie Foster)




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