Friday, 6 November 2020

SKITTLING LEAVES & LIVES

 


In the world in which we are living is just getting crazier. Hopefully the Mad Emperor Across the Water will be stopped and our own bunch of clowns given their marching orders sooner rather than later. I just want to say my thoughts are with you all in America.

I  was in Bristol last Saturday. I had been to Flow, a superb vegan restaurant the previous evening. This sign outside the Registry Office caught my eye.

PLEASE WAIT HERE FOR YOUR CEREMONY

Sign outside Bristol Registrar Office

The last Saturday before the second lockdown

The woman in the deep violet suit

is telling her father:

I’m not nervous at all, isn’t that strange?


The group of six huddle

as winds blow through the city

skittling leaves and lives


Tomorrow you will phone

tell me your wedding is off

death by a thousand regulation changes


Here for the ceremony queue the rain has returned,

the bride, the groom and their chosen four

run for any sort of shelter they can find


The penultimate stanza refers to a friend's wedding plans that have been scuppered by the pandemic.

This is the poem I was going to run this post.

Cheap Fireworks in the Rain


I left my family for this? he mutters.


He has already told me

this is a new start.

That he’s drawing a line under

the collapsed business

the catastrophic marriage,

and has taken the opportunity

to study English in England.


So here he is in Totnes

observing us natives celebrate the anniversary

of the putting to death of some Catholic.


It is a Sunday.


It is drizzling.


The kind of rains that soaks through

and there we are all outside

with the cheapest packet of fireworks

glumly igniting each one in turn.


And you do this every year? he asks

as finally the sodden blue touch paper

I’ve been trying to light for the last two minutes

suddenly flares into life

and very nearly takes my eye out.


And is it always so bleak?


Always I reply.


The story is about as true as any poem I write. It the event is Bonfire Night, a traditional celebration of the fact that Guy Fawkes did not blow up Parliament.

I leave you today with Paul Simon singing American Tune. Who would have thought there could ever be a worse President than Nixon?

Until next time.

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