Monday, 14 September 2009

Festival Fireworks

For some time, Meadowbank Stadium, which was built for the 1986 Commonwealth Games, has been under threat of closure. There were several public meetings around the time of this poem’s composition, leaving me unsure of what tense to use since the demise of this frankly rather unattractive landmark seemed to hover in the balance – and remains so to this day (depending on what day you’re reading this.)

Its greatest asset to the community is the annual firework display around Guy Fawkes Night. A better result would be that a spark ignited and razed to the ground the disgusting brick offices just beyond it. Then, my good friends who live opposite would be able to see right across to Leith – and beyond. The poem was written at the end of the 2007 Festival Celebrations; a summer I’ll never forget, quite.

Festival Fireworks
for ‘The Soprano’

The floodlights of Meadowbank Stadium are still
in the rain-sodden sky, like stuck fireworks.
The weather worse than dreich,
I venture out in the soggy streets

to Sainsbury’s for toilet-roll and gin –
life’s essentials – and imagine the spectators
at the Castle Tattoo; the rhythm of dancers and drums,
as the best of Scottish beats down on both.

If Meadowbank - once host to others games,
given its stay of execution -

hosted the same military pomp,
would equal crowds have flocked,

or hogmanay’s Great Display
fallen to the axe for a gust of Dunedin’s wind?
History and tradition keep folk
afloat, even in this diluvian Festival.

Sometimes we long for fireworks.
Now, all I crave as the water soaks my shoes,
is a warm sofa, Bombay Sapphire, and a kiss,
a breath, a touch of your soft, soft face.

Or better, the ecstasy of your voice
igniting the wet, black sky.

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