Lucy Lockett lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.
This is a story, a dark story behind a seemingly innocuous children’s rhyme. It is in part based on the rumours around the poem and the story of Miss Marsha P Johnson; although I have taken creative license, and embellished parts shamelessly.
Everyone knew Miss Lucy Lockett. She was a lady, albeit of the night, but a lady in all the ways that mattered. She had large blue eyes, with shining yellow hair and a weakness for strays. In 18th century London, she was originally a barmaid at Ye Olde Cock Tavern, in Fleet Street; but all the lads loved her so, she was eventually asked to take her services elsewhere. And so, she walked the street.
She’d sing songs as she walked, to keep herself warm and warm the hearts of the people. Songs of hope, and love and acceptance, and songs that made men follow her to dark corners, and leave happier, but lighter of pocket. And Miss Lucy would resume walking, with an extra shine in her eyes, and an extra jingle in her step.
Some days she won some, and some days she didn’t; but she always had a kind word and some pennies for the sisters of the street. On the days she won, she’d sometimes go to a tavern, where she’d play a hand at cards. And if she won there, it would be a good night, a full night for the bellies of the lost children sitting in hungry church stoops or the sides of the roads.
She’d fight for the weak, and the orange seller whose cart had been raided and send them on their way with some money and a smile. And she’d make the tired working men forget their troubles, and offer them an encouraging ear when they were done, for she loved everyone and everyone loved her.
Till one dark day, when Kitty Fisher went down to the wharf to start the day’s work, and finding an empty purse, ran back screaming, telling of the little yellow haired body washed up on the shores. And all the people gathered around, with nary a dry eye in the crowd, as they paid their last respects to Miss Lucy Lockett, who must have gone as she lived, fighting, and with faith.