Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembering Guy Fawkes - A Son of York

This is St Michael-le-Belfrey Church, in the centre of York, where Guy Fawkes was baptised. On the left of this scene stands York Minster (which you can't see). On the right, (which you can see,) is the house where Guy Fawkes was born, now the Guy Fawkes Inn. I stood and watched for a while the other morning, thinking how in 1570, Guy's parents didn't have far to take their three day old baby for his Christening service on April 16th.

I thought I'd conclude my Guy Fawkes mini-series with a thought provoking poem by one of our own daily photo bloggers (Hyde) Gerald England, written when he was in Glasgow in 1966.


It was just the other day.
Bonfire night the fifth of November.
I went down myself
to where the suburb children
had built their bonfire
and as I watched the effigy
slowly being burnt,
I thought to myself I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

My thoughts floated back
to the little close in Petergate
where in 1570
in the Church of St. Michael-le-Belfry
behind the great Minster of York,
Guy Fawkes was baptised.
And as a rocket shot out of a one-pint milk-bottle,
shooting high over tenement roofs,
I thought I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

My thoughts escaped
to the Old Hall at Scotton
where Guy's childhood was spent.
There, in those rooms, did he plot
with the Brothers Wright?
And I thought of their home,
Ploughland, on the Spurn Road
where Holderness cocks a snoot at the sea.
Just then they lit some Roman candles
and the explosion of a banger
woke me and arrested my thoughts.
Then I remembered, I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

My thoughts escaped once more;
down South to Kettering and Newton Hall
where met the unlucky thirteen,
six Yorkshiremen and seven others,
then plan to annihilate King and Parliament for ever,
with thirty-two hundredweight of powder.
And as the bonfire cast shadows on the ground
I remembered I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.

Oh how I pictured,
as the body on the firebegan to disintegrate in the flames,
the sufferings felt by Guy
as he neither lay nor sat nor stood
in the Cell of Little Ease until,
on the 31st day of January
in the year sixteen hundred and six,
he was executed,
hung, drawn and quartered.
I knew as I watched the dying embers of the fire,
I ought not to be here -
it is a Yorkshireman whom they burn.



Tanya said...

This has been such a great series Ruby, I've really enjoyed it :)

Hilda said...

When I finally read about Guy Fawkes, I found it really strange that a day named after him was 'celebrated.'

Very informative series, Ruby — I've just read through the whole lot. Thank you! Love that record book — makes me want to get myself a fountain pen!

Jackie said...

That's a fantastic poem - who knew Gerald had such hidden talent?

This is a very familiar view for me - we celebrated getting engaged with champagne outside the Minster seeing in New Year (us and the rest of the world!) a couple of years back.

lunarossa said...

Like the poem, well done Gerald! Ruby, I'm glad you did this "special" on Guy Fawkes. I'm not sure he was really guilty of the plot. The trial was a sham and they were desperately trying to find a scapegoat. Have a nice week. Take care. Ciao. Antonella

Ruby said...

Thanks all, glad you enjoyed the series. Antonella, I've heard that too. Maybe I could investigate that for a series next year!

Steffe said...

Thanks for the history lesson.

Kim said...

Wow, I just love it that you included Gerald's poem, Ruby! I agree that your series is brilliant and enjoyed it very, very much.
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