Child of Torslandia,
As wild as Sweden's northern seas.
You were a prostitute by twenty-one,
And an emigrant by twenty-five,
You left your homeland to come to
London's eastern streets, where they called
you Long Liz.
Did you come to see the country, or
merely hope to start anew?
You married John Stride, worked in his
coffee-house, but something went bad between you,
You chose widowhood while your husband yet lived,
Lying for alms (for you'd say anything but your prayers),
You became familiar with the infirmaries, workhouses,
jails and courts.
Michael Kidney claimed you liked him best,
for you'd always return after a quarrel,
but one day you had words, and it was over.
Down in the lodging house, while the benefactor spoke,
did you watch and listen? Did you fear the Ripper?
One drizzly night at the end of September, you wandered the streets
with-- one man? More?
Was your killer the one to throw you to the ground?
Did you scream and resist?
Liz, you were forty-five
When he cut your throat
in the shadows of Dutfield's Yard--
And did no one hear, nor see, nor care?
We remember you, Long Liz Stride,
dying while all around you
Life went on.
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.