Gunpowder Treason

For any British readers today is a significant date, for it is the day when, in 1605 Robert Catesby’s plot to destroy the English Parliament using gunpowder was foiled. One of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes was caught red handed guarding barrels of gunpowder that had been placed under the House of Lords so that it would kill everyone inside. The plot uncovered, Guy Fawkes was subjected to terrible torture and, along with his co-conspirators, executed.
Subsequently, throughout Britain the public have celebrated this date as “Guy Fawkes Night” or “Bonfire Night” when large community bonfires are built, usually with an effigy (“guy”) set atop, and fireworks are set as celebration. The ancient rhyme is also recited, or at least it was when I was a kid:

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

161105_gunpowderplot

We always looked forward to the fireworks, the huge bonfire, and also the tradition of children making their own guys and then attempting to collect a “penny for the guy” in order to be able to raise cash to buy fireworks. I don’t think this happens so much anymore, at least the children buying fireworks part.

Another more modern development is the use of current figures of hate on the bonfires. Ironically, the British Prime Minister has been the target on several occasions, and I recall Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair being featured, but often there are international guys too, such as foreign “dignitaries” who have particularly struck a negative cord with the British populace.

One of the oldest and largest Guy Fawkes Festivals is the Lewes Bonfire Night Celebration which takes place in the tows, East Sussex. Here there are several competing societies that plan their effigies for months and compete in a parade followed by a series of bonfires.

As an American citizen, of British heritage, I can only remark on how fitting that this should be celebrated a mere 3 days ahead of US election day 2016, a situation that has not escaped the teams at Lewes in their choice of effigies to burn this year.

~Richard

A little thing

I was going to call this “for the want of a nail…” but instead went for:

~ A little thing ~

It was more than a misdemeanor
That could not have been more obscener*
Until a security screener
Found a laptop that should have been cleaner
That was used by the pundits to demean her

But in this political arena
There really is no redeemer
For the texter of the wiener

161031_HotDog.png
* With apologies to Ian Dury (“Billericay Dickie”)

~Richard

 

Thelonious Monkey, felonious monkey

Several years ago I wrote a a few poems on a fun theme for no other reason than I liked the sounds of the words. They were inspired by: Robbie Williams’ “Me and my Monkey”,  the children’s book Slinky Malinky, by Lynley Dodd, and the the wonderful sounding name of the phenomenal jazz pianist Thelonious Monk (obviously).

Here is one of them:

Thelonious Monkey, felonious monkey

Thelonious Monkey is marked as a felon

For down in the market

He pilfered a melon

He hasn’t been caught yet

But oh, he was seen

Rolling his booty

Down to the green

The policemen were called out

To put into detention

This fruit­-stealing anthropoid

Who’s just seeking attention.

160509_Thelonius
Adapted from “Mr.Crowley amuses himself with sawdust” ca. 1888 (I added the melon!)

~Richard

Grace

The Sunday Sermon – well not really. Traditionally, today is the day of the big Sunday Dinner as we used to call it when I was child. Usually around 2pm or so (after the pub closed), it was an opportunity for the family to get together once a week around the dinner table and eat an unnecessarily large feast – which we all enjoyed thoroughly.

I do not come from a religious family, but having moved to Pennsylvania I am now surrounded by those so afflicted and who insist on “saying grace” before getting down to the hard work of scoffing every single meal and, these days, throwing away a significant amount of uneaten food afterwards.

So, as I am having one of my “down” days, brought on by the rainfall,  I offer my perspective. I am not expecting this to be popular.

 

~ Grace ~

Thank you, O unseen one for showing us Favor

Providing your bounty as something to Savour

As we feast on this Meal we praise our good Luck

That you care for US greatly as you don’t give a Fuck…

For those Others abroad in places far Flung

That are ruled by the Heathen and governed by Gun

But though many there Praise you, it seems not Enough

To calm Your huge ego so I guess that it’s Tough

For millions of Believers have only a Diet

Of promise of Heaven and so dare not to Riot

Against the Controls that are put into Place

To continue this Construct that plagues Human Race

So thanks once again, God, for sharing your Grace

And I’ll try not to Think of a starving child’s Face

Or ponder or question your Omnipotence

As I go through this daily Rite of pretence.

 

~Richard

 

ABACAB, the genesis of a verse

~ ABACAB ~

 

Rhymes are often hard to see,

and may even cause self doubt.

They’re sometimes in couplets of three,

but it’s not always an obvious pattern.

And sometimes (not here) there’s no key

so the reader has to figure it out.

😉

~Richard

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