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Bonfire Night

November 5, 2013 | by


Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!




  1. Julian de Wette | November 6, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Remember, remember…

    Guy Fawkes has grown silent.
    No raucous cherry bombs allowed
    or rockets tracing fairy lights against the dark.
    The Humane Society has decreed
    a bonfire minus sparklers
    and the thunderings of night –
    no whorls of Roman candles
    or hissing cascades of gold…
    Definitely no prospect of parliament
    brought down by peasant might.

    Remember the machine gun stammer
    faltering moments of almond blossom
    or plum-sculpted fire drifting across the sky
    the oohs and aahs, the rhythm of our sighs
    that followed each flash and blast
    the heady smell of cordite?

    Then sublime silence
    as midnight broke
    to the sonic boom of the finale.

    The howling of dogs stopped apace
    cats reversed their flight
    vacated cupboards, their hide-outs under beds.
    Whichever creature cried out in fear –
    even birds no longer shuddered.

    Children fell asleep, eardrums agog
    with memories of deafening cracks
    as if the sky itself would come apart.
    They listened for just a last rocket
    a cluster bomb, that final blast
    dispersing shimmering confetti
    to accompany their dreams.

    But the silence of night took hold
    the light of stars engulfed the place
    and their attendant grace.

    Napier, V.XI.2012

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