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The Last Cabaret

            Final Fiesta

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Dancing giants and their marching musicians, with the public in train, a caravan of prams…

Marching bands and ballerinas

Parade the street, pulling public,

Producing impromptu dances

Around pushchairs and infants

Held aloft; cheering and chants

And stampings, stampeding

Children screaming gleefully

Gobbling up potato chips, fried

Calamari, scampi and such snacks

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Washed with beer and wine,

Vermouth and gin and an ever-

Growing list of sin, resisted

Until the wee hours under stars,

Revelling unrelenting. Renewed

As sunlight reveals debris and

Blinkered vision revolves to 

Another village, a different festival,

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Of a reencountered countryside

Ready for recreation after a year

Of restraint and restriction. See

A need for sun burning, but

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Another urge underneath fuels 

This seeming endless summer:

A sense of a September looming

Despite peaceful scenes.

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Heat will resist yet, bringing

Only waves of pain. Winter comes

Indeed, but carries no snow,

Nor silent ice-glazed stasis,

Only storms. The wars await,

Worse than after a former August

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And this is our last cabaret, 

Held under a hammer cocked,

A trigger primed, and all

Staggering at the tipping-point.

This guy is having a beer, using his other, smaller mouth in the throat, taking a break from bonking children on the head with that sponge.

We were finishing up the festival of San Fermin Txikito, or little San Fermin, last weekend, which was kind of the last festival of the summer – one which had the youths going to as many festivals in as many villages round Pamplona as they could get to, after the two years they missed out on because of the Covid restrictions. And I just said to myself – good luck to them. They’ll have shit shovelled out in front of them soon enough. We have had a terrible summer in terms of exacerbated “natural” disasters, but as the weather gets cooler, we can only look forward to a winter, if not of discontent, then of a realisation of how bad things are going to get (in the privileged west where it hasn’t actually started yet unlike many other places) on our current global trajectory. We just have to turn down the thermostat here, and shorten the shower times, while in other places they’re kinda sorta fucked, as it were.

After I’d written this poem, someone on twitter, commenting on the current fiasco in the UK compared it to Weimar economics, and look how that ended up – suggesting we have a final cabaret.

So it’s not just me, of course…

I have few photos to illustrate this poem for obvious reasons…. who wants their photo on the internet with a pile of beer bottles etc. round them? I wouldn’t! But no judgement if you’re enjoying yourself – a drink before the war, as Sinéad sang…

  Drought Triggers Fall like Frost

            Drought Triggers Fall like Frost

This river valley is not so dry, but up above the shallower scree slopes are dropping those leaves down.

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The forest climbs either side of the valley

Up from the river gulley, glinting pools and 

Protruding rocks, grey against green,

Except where steeply narrows, now

Auburn, gold and orange like autumn 

Came in August as trees let their leaves 

Fall on the shallow soil rather than farther 

Toil for little gain under the strain 

Of such a fiery glare all summer long.

Enter September

 

The Subtlety of September’s Entrance

 

The bees don’t know it’s September;

They yet forage on the flowers before the porch

Under a sun shining on, strong as August.

 

Martins and swallows still flit for flies,

Gather on the lines, unready to leave;

Unconcerned the village is deserted,

Windows shuttered underneath their eaves.

 

None have truck with the times men impose,

Their clocks and dates; assigning names

To days that are every one the same.

 

Their seasons do not turn on a tick

So they stay on, as we sadly turn away.

 

 

Yes, the kids, and I, are back to school, back to Pamplona after summer spent mostly in the village….

And the above is my lament.

 

But at least the swallows and house martins had a good year, after a slow start where I was worried we’d have a big decrease over last year. There were plenty of flies around this year, though, (really annoying ones!) after a very mild winter that didn’t seem to kill many flies at all.

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A few hundred house martins and some swallows assembling on the lines above the village.