Anna Meryt Writings: A Spooky Story Poem for Halloween - The Spriggan

Anna Meryt Writings: A Spooky Story Poem for Halloween - The Spriggan: Dusk is falling on the Parkland walk the last remnants of walkers quicken their step they’ve heard the rumours, and the rumours are r...

A Spooky Story Poem for Halloween - The Spriggan

Dusk is falling on the Parkland walk
the last remnants of walkers quicken their step
they’ve heard the rumours, and the rumours are right.

The goat man’s eyelids open a tiny crack.
The woman pushing her pram hurries past. A low growl
starts deep in the throat of the black dog tied to her pram …

the dog knows, oh yes he knows…
he keeps his head low, stiff-legged as they scurry past,
down the steps and out onto the lane.

The last train chuffed its way down this track in 1954.
Nature took over and time stood still. Until in 1984,
the Parkland Walk was born.  Banks of weeds and brambles
were cleared, now Nature was to be conserved but controlled.

High up, where the walk crosses a wide bridge
near Muswell Hill, the lights of London are flickering on,
in a sea of twinkles across to the Thames and beyond.

It’s a clear cold crispy night and a full moon is rising.
The Spriggan lifts his grey green head, stretches out
cold stiff limbs and looks to the rising moon.  He cocks his head, 

listening …‘Can you hear it? Can you hear it? His croaking voice,
rusty as old iron, speaks in a hoarse whisper, to himself.
Chuff, chuff.  Puff, puff.  Whooo.. hooo, whooo…hooo.
the sound of a steam engine on missing tracks, missing since

all were lifted and sold for scrap in 1984.  The train is heading back
in time, back to a different time, a time when iron gods were king.
In the dead of night, time is suspended, time is malleable, an echo of the past.

The goat man raises his eight-foot metal bulk, green with Verdigris
and rust. He begins his nightly patrol along the shadowed walk,
along the nature trails and ghostly paths of Alexandra Palace.

If any human were to tread this dark and misty wooded way,
in the deepest night, would they encounter this same
giant cloven-hooved apparition?

I think not. Mystic magic fades from view and
hides easily from human sight. 
Stephen King’s Parkland Walk story, speaks of people known 
to lose their way here, and some who lose their way … forever.

By day, the walk is green and soft and full of light and air.
It is a haven now for many species of birds and butterflies.
City-worn humans come to run and walk and breathe
some cleaner air into their lungs.

By night, foxes bark and breed, slow-worms, those snake-like lizards,
curl in dark hollows to preserve any heat gathered from the day,
and in the coldest part of winter, hibernate with the hedgehogs.

The Spriggan marches on, passing overgrown platforms near Crouch End
and Muswell Hill. He melts back into the urban, permaculture forest
 of trees and shrubs, as racing toward him, on the absent tracks,
he hears a whistle and hiss and rattle that warns him to stand aside.

Out of the dark and ghostly gloom, a monster of iron and steel
shimmers into view, whoo, whoo-ing a soft and spooky whistle.
And lit by a shaft of moonlight, a whisper of grey steam floats
up from the chimney, rising to float across the moon.

As the train swishes past, look, look, whose faces are gazing
from carriage windows whisking past? Can that be Karl Marx’s
towering form, seated in the driver’s cabin,
risen from his Highgate grave to join the proletariat at last?

Behind him see the story-tellers – Chaucer, Pepys and Congreve…
Browning, Trollope, Dickens, Austen and Mary Ann Evans,
to give George Elliot her rightful name.
Image result for george+eliot
And oh the poets – Christina Rossetti and Coleridge,
again from Highgate graves, seated beside William Blake from Bunhill Row,
risen up with the other ‘non-conformists’, Bunyan and Defoe.

Crowded too among these literary giants are misty murderers,
some hanged who got their just desserts, like serial killer Christie,
others maybe not, like Ruth Ellis, the last to be hanged, at Holloway.
Death is a great leveller is it not?

And Jack – who is that shadowy figure behind them all, if not he?
All are crowding at the windows to see the London of their pasts
slipping by, the London they have lost.

The lights flicker across our Spriggan man’s impassive face,
as each populated carriage slides by, until the final coach
appears, bolting towards him as a ghostly laugh echoes
down the walkways. 

Seated on top of this final wagon, cross-legged, blazing trident
held above his head, his bronze-red skin glows and mad eyes burn
like hot coals. He laughs a dangerous fearless laugh, as the train
mutters along the track, fading back into the haunted demon world.

The Green Faerie man turns back upon the now silent walkway
and with a last glance behind, continues his hooven trot, returning
to his sheltered brick arch beside the short tunnel.

He is Spriggan, the Keeper and the Watcher,
guardian of abandoned ruins, some say a stealer of children,
who leaves a Spriggan substitute behind, but I say, not this Green Man,
this one has a benevolent eye.

Silence and darkness lie upon the Parkland Walk again and
as a faint pink light starts to tinge the distant horizon,
his eyelids droop as he freezes into his usual pose.

It's Deeper Than Plot

The above quote from Maya Angelou is  at the beginning of a book I published this year called Memoir Writing.  How to Write a Story from Your Life.  I'm writing my second memoir ... well I say writing but I haven't touched it for about 4-5 months.  I hit some problems with the story and then other life events intervened.

Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Jenny Nash. The interview (on YouTube) was one of the SPF15 series set up by Mark Dawson, conducted by James Blatch.  Jenny runs a company called - Author Accelerator, which is basically a top notch coaching programme. For a mere 2 grand (yes £2000/$2600 no less)  you can be put on a 6 month coaching plan.  She will take you through to finishing your book, holding you to deadlines and giving inspiration and encouragement along the way. As she's based in America, you'd get a monthly Skype call, emails etc. The package includes developmental editing, chapter by chapter. It sounds FANTASTIC and her background in publishing is amazing.  But there's the small  matter of the two grand. 

Anyway she did give some tips which I sat down with yesterday evening.  Well, questions rather than tips, which she asks her new clients before they even get started.  She said they were extremely important to think about, and should be focused on before you even look at plot.   

Firstly she gave a suggestion about keeping up the momentum.  Writers work alone and are not (unless they have a conventional publisher breathing down their necks) accountable to anyone.  Who cares how long your book takes to write?  Her suggestion is to find an accountability partner, someone who is not focused on your narrative or design - just,  'have you finished chapter ten yet - you said you would finish it by today?'

I pondered the questions and wrote out the answers and they were enormously helpful and thought provoking.  Having come to a dead end with my second memoir a few months ago,  I realised that I didn't know where the story was going to end.  Also it felt like the drama of the story had hit a dead end too, sort of petered out. Having focused on the answers to her questions, I have a whole new momentum and feel excited about the story again and why I'm writing it. 

So here's the questions and for all you writers, I challenge you to apply them to your latest project and see what you come up with.  The questions may seem obvious but ...

1.  Why do you write?  Why do you like to write?
2.  What called you to write THAT story?
3.  What do you want to capture in the story?
4.  Why do you care?
5.  What are you trying to convey in this book?
6.  Why is the protagonist there? (not the surface reason) What do they want?