On Bonfire Night

Went up the hill to watch the local Rotary Club firework display – a big, booming, rockets-and-stars affair, to a We Will Rock You soundtrack distorted through not-powerful enough speakers. However cheesy, it’s hard not to love the magic of fireworks, and something about the ritual – wrapped warm in winter coat and scarf, nose slightly chilly, the smell of smoke and sulphur hanging in the air – brings with it a kind of nostalgia.

Whenever I see fireworks, I’m reminded of a favourite poem by Elizabeth Jennings…

Remembering Fireworks

Elizabeth Jennings

Always as if for the first time, we watch
the fireworks as if no-one had ever
done this before, made shapes, signs
cut diamonds on air, sent up stars
nameless, imperious. And in the falling
of fire, the spent rocket, there is a kind
of nostalgia, as normally only attaches
to things long known and lost. Such an absence
such emptiness of sky the fireworks leave
after their festival. We, fumbling
for words of love, remember the rockets
the spinning wheels, the sudden diamonds
and say with delight “Yes, like that, like that”
Oh and the air is full of falling
stars surrendered. We search for a sign.

"Oh and the air is full of falling stars, surrendered"