The Folly: sixth arc



Danger rises. The spirit-seekers, self-possessed (this always preferrable) when dealing with the dead, are rattled by the assassin Falco. Those who hired him have failed to estimate him to his own valuation. And Falco, veteran of WWI’s atrocities, knows it, that he cannot alter this — that what the living are meant to have, a heart, is dead within him, though among the living he walks. He will, by stacking bodies, make the great men who begin wars hear him. So he intends.
Our heroes hope for a different outcome.



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, and 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




Battle Stations

 Who Owns This House


This room, its walls are painted yellow

They call it that, the Yellow Room

The corner cabinet…no plane of it

Quite fits, the hinges pull

My dear, you smile, but I feel the cabinet matters

And he will not have sold it

It wishes to remain


Who owns this house?

I think he is thirty, or thereabouts

He has come to a place in the mountains, flat, flat to despair

Rough stones, as bad for cattle as for the plough

And spare infertile earth

Poor, never visitors enough

To sell to

But his own home is poor


If he sleeps…his name must be Devon or Desmond…

In the room downstairs

He finds he can sleep

But the closet…

The privy, yes…Americans say so

He dreads to visit in the night


No night has been spent in the Yellow Room

Unused but in a time of typhus

One, and then another, three

Carried to the bedstead, borne away

A wasted hand flings free

To limpet on, with panicked strength

Still to the ill-at-ease attendant

Plucking and prying and making rearwards

These words, this pleading, a fevered vision


But the mourning, mourning face

Do I wait for you

Do you wait for me

The invalid hears and straining from the pillow sees

A figure white-clad coffined below the glass

Do I wait for you, O Love, O Death

Do you wait for me



Who Owns This House

Charcoal and pastel drawing of man in aviator's helmetSee Folly page for full series















 (2019, Stephanie Foster)



Newtons: First Battle StationsCalmacott’s Brother
















(2019, Stephanie Foster)



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