‘The Nights Close In’ by Surrey resident, Alexandra Bannatyne
Remember, remember the 5th of November
Repeats inside my exhausted mind
Childhood bonfires scary fireworks, remember?
The sparks of green, blue, yellow and colours of every kind.
Then with my own children driving through the dark
To find the village green crowded with silhouettes
Framed against tall bright flames engulfing the air as we’d walk
From car to bonfire across dewy grass and wet autumn leaves to feel the warmth like a giant net
Catching the cold air and converting it to heat
Then sparklers and glee before noisy blasts in the sky
As unseen figures set off arrays of fireworks throbbing to meet
Stars and clouds high above black trees and cosy cottages they’d try
To stay bright like lights but always went out.
The smell of hot dogs and crisps and orange squash
Hearing the children laugh and shout
Before driving home, relieved no accidents feeling posh.
Autumn leaves knew their place then in those distant days
No global warming or green leaves in November then.
Throughout September and October leaves would whirl down
Wind,frost,sleet turning them red,orange,crimson,yellow and brown.
But now as I wipe my suffocating brow in a haze
In a crowded train I realize its the humidity and find this pen
Write these words knowing everyone is in a fever
Close humid weather stifling the carriage: heaven forbid how hot a bonfire would be
As the 5th of November approaches I fear I’ll never
See another chilly bonfire night,with leafless tree
Sparks leaping in cold navy night,
Crowds keeping warm by the firelight.
We’ll arrive in the dark in strappy tops and flip flops,seeking ice creams,iced squash
We’ll marvel at fireworks but won’t stay by the fire
Worn out by stuffy breezes we’ll wish we’d obeyed
Those annoying hints about green energy, no fossil fuels- the planets plight dire
Watching a distant rocket ascend and burst
Wonder if that’s how it started
With the very first firework the very first
A force of inorganic life that increased and well fed
Over aeons and aeons as extreme weather got worse
While our lives although not fraught or dangerous
Become like a sauna and walking over dew less grass on the way back to the car
The same old mistake- ignition lights and away- the fireworks mere smoke by a star
Seeing the bonfire real low
Still wiping a fevered brow.