Orange street lights of England


So, what is there to say?

what comment can be made,

upon this event

which screams into

faces,

illuminated by the leftover

fires of

November,

daring us to comment

with originality,

upon this most

unoriginal

and arbitrary

of

occurrences,

which we are forced to endure

year upon year,

yet no permission is asked

for the intrusion

and no apology offered

for

damages inflicted,

as ghosts,

old and familiar,

dance

with those shockingly

new and

unwelcome.

I see the ghost of my father

knocking on the door

at midnight,

on this occasion

years ago.

A dark-haired person

carrying a piece of coal,

(for warmth)

a piece of bread,

(for food)

some money,

(for prosperity)

and a piece of greenery,

(for a long life)

was the superstition.

I also see my Grandmother

and myself,

awaiting the knock

in silence,

looking at each other

expectantly,

she, for some reason,

excited,

whilst i felt only

fear

having recently

read

‘The Monkey’s Paw’.

I would sneak a

look through the gap in

the curtains and see

him waiting by the gatepost

smoking a cigarette in

the cold night air.

I remember wondering

whether that

was smoke coming out

of his mouth,

backlit

by

orange

streetlights

of

England,

or steam,

due to the cold of

a December

night.

It killed him

in the end – the smoking,

not the waiting by

gateposts – and

it doesn’t get as cold

as it used to, which

is another matter

entirely.

Each experiences

events in a different

way, i suppose,

yet

this fear has

remained with me

into middle-age,

now buried a little

deeper perhaps, a

little less inclined to

exposure, but definitely

still there,

seeking

some/any/flecks

of understanding or

meaning, perhaps

that i might join

in on nights like

these, instead

of feeling only a faint

kind of

horror and

confusion.

Is there something

wrong with me?

i would ask myself at

midnight,

year after year,

as i observed the

merriment from my

corner of the room,

nursing whatever external

comforter

i had currently chosen

to address this inner

wrong.

There is a force i have

observed from my

corner,

which terrifies me with

its apparent ability to

render people

amnesiac to what they

often do to

each other, in the

name of ambition, progress

and status,

(sometimes only days before)

causing me

appalling confusion

and complete

loss of words,

as i watch

enemies tuck each other

into bed,

when social networking

or possibly even

dining face to face,

“Happy New Year my friend,

long may you prosper!”,

as one reaches over

the other,

the light is

switched off

and

the knife goes in.

Then rising slowly

and quietly, a smile

is offered,

as

they

walk across the

room

and with a final glance

towards the bed,

gently close

the

door.

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