Guy Fawkes effigy. If you remember 🙂 the gunpowder plot set for the 5th November, 1605 when parliament was due to be opened by James the 1st of England & 6th of Scotland, by a group of Catholics who wanted to end the persecution of Catholics in England. This was during the period of the Reformation in England and there were strict laws governing any expression of the Christian faith other than that authorised by parliament, and the Catholic Church was very hemmed in by regulation. The architect of the plot was Robert Catesby. The plot was foiled and Fawkes was captured. Under torture he named all the plotters. All were captured and sentenced to be hung drawn and quartered. Fawkes avoided this excruciating death by jumping from the ladder for the scaffold and broke his neck and died.
The parliament named November 5 as a National Day of Thanksgiving which morphed into a bonfire night, and later fireworks were added to round out the Gunpowder Plot aspect. Fawkes was never burned, though others at that time were, but bonfire night caught on nonetheless. The question in my mind is do people get what it was about, and do they understand the reason for the plot? Not only that, the pure barbarism to hang draw and quarter? I’m not one to support murder, but nor am I one to support state sanctioned torture or murder either.
Leap of Faith
How did it come to this?
That you would cease to breathe this day,
your body smashed and broken,
your heart and passion gone.
That you dreamed of freedom,
believed for better,
for rights held by others,
but not by you or yours.
You were squeezed for servitude,
under those who looked down on you.
A king was your hopeful prize,
your evening bulletin,
but in truth he was an effigy of ill,
and your surprise was sprung against you,
then the scaffolding was strung.
Yet you beat the plot against you,
and found your freedom at last,
as you left the ladder of doom.
Centuries would pass before
freedom came to yours,
now I see you everywhere,
not least on tindered heaps,
more in the masks of dissent,
where freedom is eroding,
and we must leap the ladder
of protest once again.
©Paul Vincent Cannon