You were the eldest child of decent folk
(though they married after your birth);
You were bred to work and wed, and
the coachman John Chapman gave you his name.
You became a mother three times,
but cruel Fortune twice took away your joy:
Little Johnny was a cripple, sent to live apart,
While your eldest girl sickened and died, aged only twelve.
Grief separated you from your husband, and soon he too was dead--
How must you have felt, Annie, so bereft then,
with only the rum for your solace,
with only black gloom in your heart,
and sickness in your body.
Bruised and sore, unwell and penniless,
Telling yourself you must not give way,
Telling the keepers to guard your bed,
Annie, could you do nothing else but venture out
Into the dark of that September morning?
He left you in the yard at Number 29, against the fence,
Your body humiliated and gaping wide,
Your mother's womb stolen,
As Fortune herself had stolen your children,
but a few years before...
We do remember you, Dark Annie,
Upon each sad anniversary of this day.
-- by Pat D.
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.