The Royal Fireworks

With lovely face and fiery tail
Swift unaffrighting comets hail
The joyful coming of the Queen.
Look, shattered rubies, globes of green,
Meteor-streaks, the varied sheen
Of bright cadenzas, dazzling falls,
Waves of light breaking, coronals,
Hail-storms, sunwheels, opening flowers,
Trumpets of joy that speak gold showers,
And instantaneous tall towers—
Twice given; for in air they reign,
And water renders them again:
There flashing watersnakes appear,
Anenomes burn soft and clear;
There luminous medusa-domes
Trail tentacles of light; quick combs
Of coral radiance flare and die.
Galactic fire in either sky,
Of shoals and stars! And constellations
Of phosphorescent contemplations
Within that third and more inclusive
Sky of mind, where thought’s elusive
Spangles drift, or rise elate,
And sudden pleasures coruscate.
The heart is born to celebrate:
May heaven and earth keep wonted state
With thronging splendours, festivals,
Till a concluding darkness falls.


James Phillip McAuley 1917-1976



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