Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guy Fawkes' Lantern - Heathcote Williams

Guy Fawkes’ lantern
Is a surreptitious
Point of pilgrimage
For anonymous
Armies of anarchists who
Visit the glass case
Where it is preserved
In the Ashmolean
Museum, Oxford.

‘What if?’ they wonder,
‘What if Guy Fawkes had done it?
‘Had done the business –
‘For what’s changed?’ they ask,
‘Kings and Parliaments spend tax
‘On wars no one wants.
‘There’s still a Monarch,
‘Most of whose Parliament
‘Is unelected.

‘Twenty-six Bishops
‘From the national religion
‘Sit there as of right –
‘Their Invisible
‘Sky Wizard favoring them
‘Over other cults,
‘And eight hundred Lords
‘Outnumber them all, making
‘Voting meaningless.’

Boisterous voices
Then frighten the life out of
Japanese tourists:
‘Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow.’

A 3rd poem from Heathcote Williams, as promised. This is also a new improved version.

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