Man on the moors mystery told through a poem

A RETURN to Saddleworth inspired Mark Coverdale to add his own contribution to the ‘Man on the Moors mystery.’

p11 neil dovestones
A police sketch of the man found on the moors

Now an antique furniture restorer in north London, the former Grasscroft resident is one of millions enthralled by the death of pensioner David Lytton and baffling appearance in Greenfield.

“It’s an intriguing tale,” said the 39-year-old former Friezland Band member. “I grew up in Saddleworth from the age of nine and came back for a visit over Christmas.

“One night I had a walk up Lark Hill. It was so peaceful and dark and got me thinking about the whole thing.”

With lyrics from American garage rock band, the Sonics already on his mind, Islington-based Mark was suitably inspired to pen ‘I looked for Neil Dovestone, for a bit.”

Now thanks to Mark, the Independent reproduces his poem:

I looked for Neil Dovestone, for a bit
(With thanks to The Sonics).

Like all good walks,
Your sleuth begins
With a crawl.
Some folks like water,
Some folks like wine,
But i like the taste
Of straight strychnine.

Past dry stoned-walled
Teenage handbrake-turn corners
In 80s cars bought in the 90s.
I shake hands with this bar called Clarence.
Pub’s not working.
Not middle.
Just class.

A Navvie, a Commie and
Some Pendle Witches
Walk in wellies
Not me,
I’m past rugby league pitches,
Up past archers’ dwellings,
Wi’ John Willie Lees
T’ ‘mountains’.
Nay, lad, just ‘ills these.

Our victim,
Of what we know
Had overseas steel from
Knee to toe,
A Euston train without
An aim?
A ton thirty of tenners
For when the fat lady sings?
For who?
The wine is red,
Poison is blue,
Strychnine is good
For what’s ailing you.

Strings sour,
Down wings,
Of misty dribble.
Head bowed, upwards.
The rainwater in tracks
Glows distant moon blue.
Glistens like the
Crystal swan, in the
Down there,
Christmas-lit window of the
Middle stone terrace.
Fissures of molten
Intergalactic lava,
Mixed in with sulphurous
Farm smell
The crags in the rock
Mimic the elbow crease
Of a Native American scalper.

Afar, the expanse of deep watery
Drown-thee dread of a
Hypnotic wind
Skips the midnight reservoir
In to an Artex ceiling
From the film Vertigo.
Who’d kill one dove
With 2 stones?
Thee’s a Mystery,
Four ghostly five,
Six helicopters,
Seven strychnine.

It’s down, now, detective, down.
Half cocked in London dress.
Make it to the next
Distant landladied
“You alright love…?” pub.
An archipelago of bitter pints
Aligned wi’ Sheik Rory o’

I ponder ‘pon the case in hand.
Beats me, this
Walter anonym-Mitty.But if you listen to what I say,
You’ll try strychnine some day.
Make you jump, it’ll make you shout,
It’ll even knock you out.

Rest in Peace
David Lytton.


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