Yell Fire!

Let us pan along a terrace, one of fifty fishbone streets,
to a house upon the corner, windows sealed with metal sheets.
You can buy it up with plastic, if you want to take the risk,
but beware the boys with matches, they're out looking for a frisk.
        When out sniffing for the crack,
        they go sneaking round the back
        and deal the wall a beaming blow with sledgehammer attack;
        then they wait until it's dark
        and then - only for a lark -
        make a bonfire in the kitchen, apply petrol and a spark.
 

Who will wreak recriminations in the angry light of dawn,
as the sooty settee suttee sits there smouldering on the lawn?
First there's policemen, parsons, firemen, gasmen, hatchetmen and hacks,
then come councillors and counsellors, arson specialists in packs:
        When their properties are void,
        kids are bound to get annoyed;
        they're left derelicked by circumstance, underrated, unemployed.
        So they take some brownfield site,
        set it blazing in the night,
        then they merry-make and celebrate and watch their world ignite.


It's a Molotov of Moloch, Agni's message from on high,
it's beneficent, malignant, an oblation to the sky;
showing man's force over nature, it's his progressential tool
to alight upon inventions, increase energy, control.
        It's creation's scared spark,
        slash-and-burn, release from dark,
        it's the centre of discussion or a throwaway remark.
        So our ashes we bestrew,
        hoping fresh growth will burst through,
        after firing out our final flare to beckon in the new.

 
If we pan along that terrace, one of fifty fishbone streets,
to the ruin on the corner, windows sealed with metal sheets.
You could buy it up with plastic, if you cared to take the risk;
but the shadow boys with matches, they're out looking for a frisk.