02 October 2010


A heptathalon is a seven-part race run by women.

This is a poem about a strange creature/man who attacked mostly women in the 1700s in England.

It is not in seven parts.

Heptathalon (Spring Heeled Jack) 10/2

In October
a girl – Mary Stevens
worked in Lavender Hill

On her way through Clapham Common
a dark man – possibly a man
held her arms tightly – began
to kiss her face – rip her clothes

She said with claws
she screamed – he
leapt into darkness

The next day – near Mary Stevens' home
a dark man – probably a man
jumped in the way of a carriage
and escaped by jumping a nine foot wall

They said – bell-like laughter

Jane Alsop – months later
February – answers the door
on vomiting blue flame

She said his eyes were balls of red fire
wrapped in a dark cloak – a helmet
and white oilskin

He held her arms tightly – began
to kiss her face – rip her dress
his claws were metallic – cold

He caught her on the steps
tore her neck with his claws

She said her sister saved her

Eight days later – Lucy Scales
returning home from Limehouse
with her sister

Along Green Dragon Alley
dark man – maybe a man
standing at a angle

She said – a quantity of blue flame
fits for hours

She said – tall thin gentlemanly
carrying a police lamp

In August – years later
in Aldershot's barracks
a sentry – in darkness

A figure advances from the gloom

He said – stop or I will shoot

The figure is quick and upon him
slapping him – one – two – three

He is shooting at the dark man
most likely not a man
then the figure is gone
with astonishing bounds

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