Guy Fawkes Night
Fireworks quarrel and bark

And silver feather dusters soar,
Ziprocket linenripping
White and pink blossoming
Soft petalfall
Floating, pleading, “Please to remember”
Languid pallor on the retina

Another streaker
Fast unzipper
Long crack of premature dawn
Over-eager stripteaser

From kicked-up embers sparks
Hang about and
Blink out,
Puzzled, baffled
One by one,

Blackness is

The stars are masthead lights
Of the nights that pass in the nights
The moon, day’s anchor
Drags along the rooftops
Black scattered hulks of bricks and mortar
Shoals of restless rustling leaves

In the back gardens
Children’s rapt and businesslike faces
Are ruby and cosy
In the velvety lights of bonfires

Fiery cats’ tongues lick nightfur busily

Chilly but smiling mummy and stauch everythingundercontrol daddy
Have migrated, briefly, from clock bronze tongs quick knitting
Hearth - black earth and open sky

Chancily I spot
And study through collargarotted, astronomically
At the seamless meridian
Orange amoebas writhe round each other, yinging and yanging
belishas ballooning and kissing
Earth’s artillery banging, all lights cometing and kiting
The traffic lights’ alternatives are weaving
Swift and giddy scarves around each other
Docklights disjoined in silent heaves of dreamy water
- incessant heavenescence

The City’s continuing toil is brooding thunder brewing
In the sullen and enormous cauldron under
Please to remember, under house and home the treasonable

Squiggling hookworrms slither and clamber
Burst to a poitilliste autumn
And sag
Felled ox with drooping shoulder
- peer

Sprouting sparklers fizzle and
May be held in the innocent hand
The sparks fly upwards
My stump remains below!

For strayed or straggling spermatozoa, what devouter consummation
Than this swift, lusty and pre-eminent disintegration?

A plough of red and green, holding her course very steadily,
- Navigation lights - surely?
- No, subsiding now
And spreading
Phantom black limbs soften, blur, thicken to
Ink of a dying squid
Figment of imagination, paying too much attention
A vacillating star remains impaled

A charred stick clatters and smokes on the gravelly path
The city’s glow is huge and coral pink
The biggest firework is as slow as time
How rich we must be to scatter our gold and silver!
We are fairy gold
All we are, all told,
Is a lucky dream in the streak of a dying star

Hark the children skylarking

Published in Southern Review, Vol. IV, No. 4 - 1971