September Poems - Poems For September

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Ms Found In A Belfry - Poem by David Lewis Paget

I stared down at Whitechapel's Streets
Reflected through a mirror,
Safe closeted in darkness with
The Camera Obscura,
From this one central vantage point
My eyes ranged over all
The sad rack of humanity,
Its petty rise and fall,
The Toffs, clad in their Toppers, and
The Dollymops procuring,
The drunkards and the thieves and rogues,
Beyond man's curse or curing.

All types had passed me slowly by,
As I stood watching, praying,
That should the Lord declare his love
Those lives might be worth saving,
I saw but heads and shoulders from
Where I stood, looking down,
The lens was tilted from a height,
From Camera to the ground,
They passed like busy, swarming ants,
Unknowing that above
Two eyes were watching closely, each
And every passing move.

Good Queen Victoria, bless her soul
Reigned over us on high,
Reigned over this unwholesome den
Of blind iniquity,
The people's pain and poverty
Showed up on every face,
It brought good men to curse and drink
And women to disgrace,
And worse, the streets of London then
Gave out some awful mist
Of evil humours, deadly sins
The poor could not resist.

Summer came and went, and then
Upon that final day,
Foul murder was to come to haunt
Each woman's right of way,
For Mary Nicholls, prostitute,
A shallow, aimless drunk,
Was found in Bucks Row, murdered there,
With little argument;
Her throat was slashed, her face destroyed,
Her body ripped and torn,
It was like some wild animal
On London streets was born.

A week went by, and Annie Chapman
Passed along my way,
I saw her stop some stranger here
And ask the time of day.
Then off she went to meet that painful
Horrid, bloody fate,
The long knife and the sickening plunge,
The silent scream, too late!
Before the manic razor gleamed
And went to work its hell,
Disturbed her bowels and organs, left
Her corpse a bloodied shell.

Another week, a letter then arrived
At Central News,
Pressing home the killer's point,
The rabid killer's views,
But of remorse, there was no sign,
No hint of sadness there,
And it was signed, in scrawling pen,
Yours truly, 'Jack the Ripper.'
What panic then invaded all those
Alleys, yards and lanes,
The pubs were seen as safe, while fear
Coursed gutters, poured down drains.

Each victim from then on had passed
Beneath me, once or twice,
I was well versed in decadence
Along these streets of vice,
I took more of an interest when
I saw some stranger trace
The footsteps of a dollymop,
I tried to see their face,
But it was getting harder as
The rain came beating down,
And often mist would swirl on through
The streets of London Town.

As late September fell we saw
That poor old Lizzy Stride
Was razored at the throat, but strangely,
Not much else beside.
So could it be that, just this once,
The 'Ripper' was disturbed
From cutting, slashing, finishing,
His trademark ripping curbed?
So thought the police, and yet too soon
Within the very hour,
Another woman's corpse was bled
To prove the 'Ripper's' power.

Catherine Eddowes corpse was slashed
And razored, ear to ear,
Her blood was scattered everywhere,
Her kidney disappeared,
Though half of it was posted back
A little later on,
The letter said he'd cooked and eaten
All of what was gone.
The police were getting nowhere
With their methods or their search,
But I... I knew, and so in faith
I had to go to church.

I'd seen a face look up at me
And stand out from the crowd,
A face that picked out every victim,
Followed with her shroud,
And so I found the pew, and saw
The figure lightly perch,
And cross itself uneasily
In Holy Mother Church,
So knowing what I'd have to do,
And soon as soon could be,
I asked the Lord his pardon, that
He'd start forgiving me.

I followed closely from then on to
Mary Kelly's place,
I thought that I'd have time to spare,
But found I'd lost the race.
I heard the screams of murder from
The centre of the house,
The doors were bolted, windows barred,
And no-one could I rouse,
But once the deed was done inside
A head peered out in vain,
I clubbed it well, to end the spell
Of Jack the Ripper's reign.

She's hanging in the bell-tower from
The rope that rings the bell,
And when the parson pulls, it may
Just ring her in, to hell!
A nurse, whose husband thought to stray
For one brief taste of bliss,
Then brought it home to her, she said,
That dreadful syphilis!
So in revenge she murdered them,
The women of ill fame,
And blamed all men by using then
The 'Jack the Ripper' name.

30 September 2008

(Coincidentally, written on the 120th
Anniversary of the murders of Elizabeth Stride
and Catherine Eddowes by Jack the Ripper,
30 September,1888) .

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Poems About September

  1. 151. Ms Found In A Belfry , David Lewis Paget
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