Thursday, 5 November 2009


When we remember the Fifth of November
I never forget Guy Fawkes.
For centuries,
By fiat, we were ordered to
Celebrate the deliverance of James
From Gunpowder, treason and plot.
From what was and was not.
But from the harrying to the
Carrying of coal miners’ banners
We’ve been hounded in the North,
By scoundrels and force,
And now even the communal pyres,
Borrowed from All Hallows eve, where we
Used to burn unwanted furniture, have been
Discouraged or altogether outlawed by the
Decrees of Parliament’s disreputable men. Fireworks
Still fly at civic assemblies, but the old message, as
Ever, has been buried beneath the ashes of enterprise.
No more balloon headed effigies wearing last year’s
Clothes and stuffed with straw hauled around the
Neighborhood for pennies, no more runny nosed urchins,
No more searching for reasons behind the barrels.
And even as South Yorkshire Fireman strike, tonight the
Sight of elaborate displays may or may not remind that acts
Of terrorism are as old as the stones, and that the man with
The wick in his hand is not always the one behind the plan.
Guido was from here and I feel a kinship to him and his
Grievance and, though all were eventually strung, he is the
One we recall and name this evenfall after, and some remember him
More fondly these days than the King we were once dragooned to exult.

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