Bethlem watcher

Bethlem watcher, night rider, I found your cartography scrolls, saw your  insane calligraphy penned small and scrawling like the tree branches against the now-gathering darkness at five. I read your Old World maps, traced the sea monsters with my fingernail, read in their visages what I once read in a tale  poorly translated from Czech folklore. In the mouth of the night the hero arose. Did you believe that meant utter darkness? Or a yawning blush to herald Phaeton and his reins of reason? I thought the former. Anyway you wouldn’t know what to do with reins of reason if they were manacled to your wrists. Your maps aren’t Pangaea I don’t recognize these archipelagos. My belly is flat again but the scars of childbirth run faint and blue like your  inked rivers. Draw me a J pen me a C scrawl my S like I wrote your name in the dust and scrubbed it out with a fist. Men painted schooners & sea monsters in gilt and scarlet on old maps to fill in the blank spaces.  Beribboned seagulls. I’m trying to place your otherworld. Here’s an approximate coast of Tyre, Joppa, a scribble which could be a nod to Charybdis. The least you could have given me was a skin coracle for when the tide went out, a line for my reel.


  • I’m speechless… this is breathtakingly speechtaking.

  • Thanks lady! You’re breathtakingly speechtaking 😉

  • Very striking verse.

    I’ve been fascinated with the phrase ‘Bethlem Watcher’, since I read The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester, which treats briefly of the origins of Bedlam.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • I’ve been fascinated with the phrase since I read it in his other book, The Professor and the Madman. Thanks for the chance to visit your blog! It’ll be a treat to read. Can you stay yet?

  • Not as yet. In fact I’ll probably have to keep this going until the New Year!

    ….my eyes are tired.

  • I’m sure they are. I read a great deal as well and know the feeling. I just read your entry from today about Never Let Me Go. It sounds superb. I loved (and hated) The Remains of the Day, so I’ll go pick this one up from the library.

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