Post Xmas blues - it's been grey cold and raining all day - all the build-up to Xmas, buying presents (last-minute in my case).  Then a friend came round to help wrap the endless presents  (6 kids 7 adults). ... and I also spent Xmas Eve making mince pies and a nut-roast and then it was Xmas Day ... I like practical presents - so that's what I got - plus a beautiful pair of pajama bottoms - lovely colours - too nice to wear to bed and my fav chocs - Booja booja - the best.

I came across this poem in January 2020 when I went to Cape Town for a month.  I lived there in the 70s and wrote a book about how myself, my husband and baby had lived there under full-on apartheid - called A Hippopotamus at the Table (pub'd by Tambourine Press 2015).

While in Cape Town, that Jan 2020, I went to visit the widow of an old friend and very good poet - Peter Kantey.  We sat out in the garden, talked poetry of course and I read Elisha and their daughter Dominique a few of my poems, at their request.  They brought out some poems by Peter and friends.  This one - Rain - I immediately fell in love with - I photographed it to type it up one day .... 

But  .... a few weeks after my return .... we were in lockdown and the rest is history, and I forgot all about it .... until the other day, it randomly popped up on my phone.  So I finally typed it up and here it is - the topic is rather appropriate for today.  And after it, I include one of my favourite poems from Peter - which may be the title of a collection soon to be published by Tambourine Press, posthumously sadly.  I know he would have been delighted, dear Peter.  

Finally there's a short poem I wrote, still on the rain theme - Raindrops on my Tongue


by Michael Cope

That day it rained Poetry.

At first, it started with a few words falling;

there fell love, here sunset,

a lark or two, a patriotic sentiment …

It fell faster; the Iliad and the Odyssey came down

in a sudden squall of dark archaic drops,

the words of Shakespeare fell, the words of Dante

and Wordsworth, of Rimbaud and of Donne;

harder and harder they pelted, soaking into the soil

or forming puddles, here perhaps a little sonnet

trickling off the eaves

spatters of Limericks, a dirge on the slate path.


It seemed to be slackening

so I opened the front door, put my hand out to feel,

caught a verse from the Diamond Sutra

and a Latin couplet in my hand

wiped them on my trouser leg and came back in

to the hot chocolate and the rain-watching.


Li Po ran mournfully on the window pane.

A couple of protest poems shook themselves off the carnations

and joined a sonnet grieving for death.

We could see it would soon be over and in a few days

we would be able to pick huge mushrooms

nurtured by D.H. Lawrence

and the farmers would be glad of the downpour.

So we put on our raincoats and our Wellingtons

and went out to trudge among the puddles and

the leaves damp with words

and we were puzzled as to the meaning of this shower…

But when we came back for supper

we carefully wiped the poems from our boots.


We stayed indoors and watched the words come out of the sky

bouncing off the oak leaves and forming quatrains

that washed the bird-shit from the car roof.

Small words on the windows

wrote nursery rhymes or ballads

that trickled and ran, reforming themselves

in the wonders of Spencer and Yeats's finest memories.

In the gutter leaves, words and mud rolled

towards the storm-drain.

but from the window, through the gathering and changing verses

we could not discern their content.


We knew however, that somewhere

Mayakovski and Rilke

were darkening the soil

and that cummings would help the seedlings in the yard

that Elliot would grow fine roses;

but feared that Shakespeare and Goethe

would cause the dams to break,

spilling the dangerous flood,

ripping at land and trees in all directions.


Through a break in the cloud

the sun illuminated a canto by Pound

near the foot of a young palm tree

and sparkled over the Mahabharata

as it seeped through the lawn.

We sipped hot chocolate and watched a truck go by, splashing Kipling and some obscure triolets against the hedge,

leaving them to run muddy onto the pavement.

Gus Ferguson wrote in an email:  ‘If a book is done, I suggest you include the Mike Cope poem ‘Rain’, as it really makes me think of Pete [Kantey]’ 

When I first heard Michael read this poem in the small garden adjacent to the South African National Gallery, along with his father, novelist Jack Cope, Menan Du Plessis, and Peter Clarke – it too, made me think of inspiring discussions about Life, the Universe and Poetry, upstairs in Peter’s study, with rain thundering down on the roof and whooshing out of the gutters.  I remember too, memorable discussions at al fresco luncheons and wine-soaked dinners – meals surrounded by ebullient, talkative artists, writers, painters and musicians, who never ceased with their constant flow of words, jokes, stories, anecdotes and quotes from remarkable women and men in the giddy world of arts and culture. 

Here's Peter Kantey's poem  All Blue which he wrote and sent to me, back in London in the 80s...

        All Blue

I die of Rain Forest;

Tiger, I die of sleep;

I die of flowing, clear river;

Grizzly; spawning salmon;

I die of teaming grassland;

Antelope, Great Karoo;

I die of clear, crystal fjords

Timber wolf; whale meet again;

          I die of love; accountability;

Responsibility; vision.

.... and finally I was walking down the street with a little girl called Neveah (Heaven backwards) one day and she was dancing in front of me with her tongue out - here's the poem I wrote for her -

Raindrops on my Tongue

 Dropping pear drops from the sky

I close my eyes and

skip skip skip

down the wet pavement.


Rasberry, strawberry or banana?

Today I’ll pick the caramel toffee fudge

and feel the big wet drops of icy grey

counting one two three. …


Dark sky, grey clouds and I’m wearing

pink shoes, dancing shoes, blue coat,

rainbows kaleidoscope over my head


I put out my tongue and jump skip jump

catching flavours and colours

sherbet lemons fizzing. . 

Not A Bad Word Xmas Special 20th Dec

 Come along to 

The Crouch End Picturehouse, Upstairs 1st Floor

Not A Bad Word

Xmas Special

165 Tottenham Lane, London, N8 

for a mixture of poetry, music and song...  

First half Open mic, second half booked poets

on a winter/ festive theme ... 

you can carry some tinsel, wear a Xmas hat or one of those Xmas headbands  .. 

...even dig out your Xmas jumper! You won't be alone. 


It's on Wed 20th Dec ..at 7.15  ... til 9.30 pm

Writing Memoir. How to Write a Story From Your Life


This book was first published at the end of 2017.  It's now in its third edition.  I'd written one memoir and then taught memoir writing for a few years to small local groups. My teaching experience has been in various settings and subjects, starting with teaching the history of Ancient Egypt for a while in Adult and Higher Education (my degree was in Ancient and Near Eastern History at University College London).  I'd been to Egypt many times - employed by Hayes and Jarvis to give talks about Ancient Egyptian history to British tourists on Agatha Christie-type paddle steamer boats (now petrol-powered) as we travelled down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. I'd taught the same subject to undergraduates for a while at Birkbeck.  Here's a bit of a flavour  of Egypt - 

Before Sunrise in the East

Oh - la - a -a - a

  • rudely awakened at godforsaken 5 am
  • I smell the dust and heat and remember where I am.
  • The muhaddin call electronically loud
  • all over the city, from the loud speakers
  • at the top of the mosques,
  • strategically placed trumpets
  • blaring criss-cross over the hot misty city
  • calling to arms Allah's army of worshippers
  • "get up, fall to your knees
  • face Mecca and pray".

  • And I, in my godless western sloth,
  • turn over and pull
  • my pillows over my head

But that was not the sum of my teaching background, due to discovering in the eighties that I had an aptitude for this new technology - computers! Me and my husband had gone for broke to get our soon-to-be teenage daughter an Amstrad (a Xmas present bought with a credit card.  Thanks to Alan Sugar we started to have affordable computers in our own homes). 

My aptitude for computers - which had been developed as an Exams Administrator at the Polytechnic of North London, eventually led to my teaching Info Tech to undergraduates when the Poly became London Metropolitan University  - teaching HTML, how to create databases, using spreadsheets and word processing.  In those days most people didn't know how to turn a computer (PC) on, let alone type something, save and file it. 

In the mid-90s, a friend - Glynis taught at Holloway Prison.  An IT teaching post came up there - after a few month's trial I was teaching there 5 days a week, plus teaching Egyptology evening classes at the Working Mens College or City University or Birkbeck University.  I had 2 kids by then and an actor husband who was in and out of work.  So we relied on my steady income.

I'm rather breaking my own rules on memoir writing so far.  This is giving you not so much memoir as a potted background history to show why I wrote this book. 

During the pandemic, I employed a guy to market my (then) two books and Writing Memoir sold rather well in America and Canada using Amazon Ads.  For a while, it was selling 150 books per month.  This, however barely covered the cost of my marketing guy's fees and the Amazon Ads fees.. I made a small profit.  But what happened was, the book started to stack up reviews and now has nearly 200 reviews,  around 75% were 5* (8 to go - so please, if you buy my book, leave a review ... let's make it to 200)  So many people have told me it has taught them how to start writing memoir because now they can see how to.

So what is 'memoir' also called 'creative non-fiction' - well it is NOT autobiography.  I'll tell you this much only - it's a story from your life.  If you want to know more - well you'll have to read my book. 

What it is NOT though is a boring list of facts about your life, strung together for your grandchildren, Writing a decent memoir is like writing a novel, except it's a true story.  It should be a page-turner, it should have dialogue, description and scenes to bring it to life.  If you want to know more, firstly read the following feedback I recently discovered on my blog - someone called Dee (not my cousin Dee), I'm guessing this Dee is from America, she sent me this - and then if you are thinking of writing a story from your life - BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON.  Be sure to leave a review.  Reviews sell books.

Here's that review  from Dee in America- 

Hello Anna, I just wanted to drop a hello and say that I'm currently reading your book, Writing Memoir, How to Write A Story from Your Life. It has helped me a lot, for it gets to the point, no goings on about this and that, like some do. I like the chapter on, Your Voice the Narrator, and your advice to read other authors' memoirs to check out their writing style for it all adds up to becoming the voice. The key questions you provide, to ask myself, helped me to understand that finding my voice doesn't have to be some big unusual, interesting, or not, revelation. Finding my voice is right in front of the mirror, everything I'm made of, believe in, morals, values, the way I talk, my emotions, thoughts. The other important thing, is to read other authors, even find some favourites, do some research, but mostly, just get to it, write, write, write. 

Your book led me to read William Zinsser's books, On Writing Well and Inventing the Truth the Art & Craft of Memoir. Which are 2 excellent books. 

Overall your book may be small but it packs a big punch! I'm writing my first memoir, I have written so far, 3 individual stories I remember from a youngster, and am finding titles for them, tacking them to my mind mapping board, that you recommended, it works fantastic by the way. Gives me the chance to put my story ideas in front of me and clear my mind for new stuff to come through


That's one of quite a few really nice reviews people have given to this book.

So here's the link to the Amazon website if you want to buy the book - either as an e-book or a paperback.

Writing Memoir: How to Write A Story From Your Life (Third Edition) eBook : Meryt, Anna: Amazon.co.uk: Books

And my first memoir - 

A Hippopotamus at the Table

The second memoir - Beyond the Bounds  - is waiting to be published.

Anna Meryt Writings: NOT A BAD WORD poetry event - new date, new venue

Anna Meryt Writings: NOT A BAD WORD poetry event - new date, new venue:  We're excited to announce a new venue for our poetry event in North London - It's now to be at The Crouch End Playhouse, Tottenham Lane N8 regularly on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.

NOT A BAD WORD poetry event - new date, new venue

 We're excited to announce a new venue for our poetry event in North London -

It's now to be at (regularly on the 3rd Wednesday of the month) 

THE CROUCH END PICTUREHOUSE  upstairs on the FIRST FLOOR.  Arrive before 7.30 if you want to sign up for the Open Mic - booked local experienced poets follow on from the Open Mic.

It's a great space with a small bar and management are enthusiastic in supporting this community arts event.  So please(if you can) buy at least one drink at the bar on arrival - they have plenty of soft drinks (including a range of coffees) so we are giving good reason to the venue to continue to support our event.

We are also asking for a voluntary donation of £3 - the event is run entirely by unpaid volunteers - this will be towards our expenses.

Anna Meryt

This event will be co-run with Alan Wolfson - a well-known local poet and stand-up comedian.

NOT A BAD WORD - Poetry event - Tues 20th June 2023 at a new venue


Change of venue for this event - it's now being held at The Princess Alexandra, a well-known Crouch end pub in Park Rd, N8.

The event happens next Tuesday and we've got a great line-up of interesting performers. I'll be posting more info on Facebook and Instagram when names are finalised. 

 But hey!  If you're a hidden poet and you want to come out of the closet, come along for the first half when the Open Mic section is happening.  Virgin poets of any age are welcome and will be given an enthusiastic welcome and a round of applause!  Likewise, if you want to sing us a song or play us a tune!


Not a Bad Word Poetry Event - recorded from April 2023 here's the YouTube link

Not a Bad Word Poetry and Spoken Word Event May 16th -7pm Harringay Arms, N8


We've got some great poets from North London coming to perform their poetry. 
Plus there's a smattering of musicians 🎜🎝🎜🎜🎜♫♬coming to sing or play the odd number.  Plus there's OPEN MIC for either experienced poets 
to randomly turn up and read ONE poem 
or and most importantly there's 
Open Mic for you hidden poetry virgins out there.  
You've been writing poems in secret all those years - 
bring your best one along 
and give it an airing in public for the first time.  
You know you want to

Hermanus and the Leviathan

This was a post put on Facebook - but for those who aren't on FB I thought you might like to see it too. With pictures.

Bumped into a fellow poet/friend at local cafe bar today. He'd been away in Cape Town (my favourite place in the world). He'd also had a tough time as he'd become v ill there and been in a hospital clinic for 2 weeks of his visit and was still feeling delicate. Anyway, he told me he'd spent some time in Hermanus - about 50 miles east of Cape Town - a beautiful spot that I know well. 

Hermanus is a town built on a vast bay, looking over a huge tract of the ocean. A few years ago I was there and stayed in the lovely backpack hostel, sharing traveller's tales with the usual interesting bunch of people you get at backpacker's hostels. 
Every day, I took my towel and costume, stopped off en route to the bay to pick up stuff for lunch - french loaves, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cheeses and then walked down the spiralling clifftop path to the seawater swimming pool hidden in the rocks and swam and sunbathed and picnicked all day.

One day though I did something different. I knew that whales came to spawn in this enormous sweeping ocean bay and I wanted to see them, or at least one. It was not an option for me to go out on one of the boat trips to see the whales as I get badly seasick, even on small boats. I'd just be throwing up.  So I was resigned that I would never get a close-up view.  Also, I was there at the wrong time of year, January  The best time to see whales, I was told, was in September/October when the huge Southern Right whales come to the ocean bay at Hermanus to spawn.  However, I went to a cafe on the first floor with big windows that I'd been told about in the hostel. It was close to the cliffside promontory overlooking the ocean.  At least I might be able to see in the far distance the giant whales breaching and falling into the ocean.

Later I wrote a poem about my experience, I was so lucky that day - a poem I have performed quite a few times for events organised by Enfield Poets. My Crouch End poet friend had not heard it so I'm putting this up for you Alan. Hope you like it, it commemorates a truly magical experience for me, in Hermanus -

The Leviathan

An angel guided me the day I saw her,
the season was wrong, but my angel had other ideas.

That morning in Hermanus, my first guide
sent me to the cafΓ© upstairs, its large glass windows
were open to the vast Atlantic bay.

In this bar, my second guide pointed to distant blow-backs,
as huge sea giants breached and fell, breached and fell,
tiny on the far side of the ocean.

My mind took flight, my heart on fire and
I felt favoured by the gods of the sea,
but my angel had more for me that mystic day.

Then my guide saw her – the angel-led leviathan
a sixty-foot Southern Right titan, grazing on the distant shoreline,
moving slowly towards us.

Winged feet carried me to the close-by rocky hill, to gaze down
as she ambled along, her twenty-foot baby just submerged behind.

They browsed along the rocks below and I held my breath,
counting the barnacles along her back, watching in awe
until both were out of sight.

Since that time, my memory takes flight now and then,
lifting over the swelling ocean towards the joyous breaching
and the day I saw the whale.

Anna Meryt

Poetry Events - 13th and 17th January 2023

 There are two poetry events coming up in the next week that I and many other poets are involved with.

First a Poem-athon in Enfield






  • 11.30 to 2.00 p.m. Mini Poemathon in the Foyer, organised by Mary Duggan
  • 2 – 3 A film about the New Portrait – is this Jane Austen?
  • 3 - 3.45 A film of The Lamb’s Tale featuring large puppets. Shown in memory of Debbie Dean whose project this was.
  • 4 – 4.20 As It Was. A short play based on the poetry of Anthony Fisher, produced by Holly Darville.
  • 4.25 – 4.45 The Story of the Minotaur. A short play based on the poetry of Valerie Darville.
  • 4.50 – 5.15 The celebrated poet and author Maggie Butt is giving a reading of her poetry.
  • 5.15 – 6 Hannah Lowe winner of the Costa Poetry Aware and Costa Book of the Year 2021 is giving a reading of her poetry.

Admission £6 for the whole afternoon. Tickets available from the Dugdale Centre: 020 8807 668



An Evening of Poetry & Music

With Open mic for poets



WHERE: The Harringay Arms, 153 Crouch Hill, London, N8 9QH   

When:  Tuesday January 17th 2023 @ 7.30 -9.30 pm.

Entry FREE

 Sign in for Open Mic from 7-7.30 pm.