He had his comeuppance

It starts at the end of October,
more important than Hallowe’en
to British children conditioned
to celebrate a dastardly plot
which failed a long time ago.

I wish it hadn’t.

That chap Guy Fawkes
has a lot to answer for
that he didn’t manage to blow up
the Houses of Parliament,
so we still have to put up with
all those expensive windbags
who think they run the country.

But I digress.  The children
couldn’t care less about the
origin of the fun,
there’s  work to be done,
a Guy to be made
from a hodgepodge of cadged garments
and maybe a few that are nicked,
a squashed felt hat
some stuffing of straw and rags
and anything else that will burn.

The ridiculous creature, stuffed into a barrow
is wheeled around town
in a quest for pennies for the guy –
maybe enough to buy
bangs and showers of golden rain
and rockets and squibs and Catherine wheels,
ignoring  notices
“not to be sold to anyone under eighteen”.

And then they’re scavenging burnables
junk wood, old tyres, broken fences,
building , little by little
what will by November the fifth,
be a towering inferno, Guy Fawkes perched on top.

Comes the day – will it never be dark?
Dads at the ready to take control,
buckets of sand and water here and there
bonfire starts to light the scene.
Baked potatoes, sausages, mulled wine for the mums
and sparklers for the little ones.

Comes the night, all systems go:
Bang, flash,  whoosh and whistle
oohs and ahs
and gunpowder perfume fill the air.
Flames get higher and higher
before imploding with a shower of sparks
engulfing the guilty guy for ever.

Joseph Harker’s latest Reverie asks us to invent our own “holiday” or festival, or if we’re from a different culture or country, to explain one that might be unknown elsewhere.  This poem describes a surprising survival that is dear to the hearts of all British children’

Probably linked to dVerse Open Link Night week 77

About https://vivinfrance.wordpress.com

All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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16 Responses to He had his comeuppance

  1. Susan says:

    “But I digress. The children
    couldn’t care less about the
    origin of the fun,
    there’s work to be done . . .”
    Love how he get’s his comeuppance year after year . . .and I bet there are other names stuffed inside those clothes as well to focus and release anger. Lucky it is this that is torched rather than the real things, hey? I truly enjoyed this!


  2. A very evocative poem. Transported me instantly back to many chill early November nights begging for pennies for the Guy. Great job.


  3. marousia says:

    Oh, I love the way you threaded this together with so many vivid images


  4. Poet Laundry says:

    Thanks for the history and sharing of the tradition Viv. I really enjoyed reading your take on it too. Happy 2013 to you 🙂


  5. brian miller says:

    the kinda scary part for me is that they celebrate without even really knowing…what then is it…and i often think the same of many a holiday….the what for…and what if he had…hmm….smiles.


  6. Yes, I’ve heard of this and this is especially timely for me as we await our fate has handed down by a bunch of expensive windbags who think they run the country. :0) This is one of your best, Viv


  7. I remember the early Bonfire Nights, Viv, before the ‘safe’ displays… and he smoggy November 6th mornings; they don’t seem to be like that now. And as Tilly says, the fireworks seem to be constantly going off!


  8. So, this is a fictional tradition you’ve created, Viv?! This is really cool…you definitely had me wondering….great descriptions!! 🙂


    • vivinfrance says:

      Fact all the way through. When I was young the bonfire and fireworks would be at home, and last about ten minutes. Nowadays whole communities get together and the whole thing is much safer, more sociable and more fun.


      • That is SO intriguing, Viv. Your poem and this comment makes me realize how much in life about people and communities is completely unknown to me. Thank you for this glimpse into such a neat tradition, Viv!


  9. cecilia says:

    A great poem, for its memories and its history.. morning Viv.. hope all is well over in your side of the world! c


  10. These days, the fireworks go off every night for about six weeks 😦


  11. I always love your ‘everyday’ poems 🙂


  12. I learned something new. I had heard of Guy Fawkes and I vaguely remembered something about the House of Parliament but I didn’t know anything else. Very enlightening!


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