When I was ten years old, a treasure trovely
gift was sent my way — a chemistry set —
a cornucopia of crazy risks for me to play.
In those days, health and safety cushioning
had not yet been invented. So a little lad
(for that was who, in those times, it was for)
could diligently blow himself to smithereens
or light a high-explosive bonfire on the floor!
A little terrorist I was when mixing up my
witchy homemade detonating brews (with fuse).
Potassium permanganate was in the box of tricks;
ammonium nitrate too (parents didn’t have a clue!).
Those were the days when every birthday craze
was dangerous and insecure, a real hazard-risk
for sure — minacity! Yet still within the law!
I miss those days when we could earn our stripes
through jeopardy, or ride our bikes on any road,
play out from dawn till dusk and well beyond
without a care — without a pervert’s greedy stare.
Adventure and discovery were how we learned;
and if a kid was killed and buried on the moors
it was exceptional, unusual and not the norm,
as it has now become in this corrupted world,
which hovers like a lonely gem within a furnace
on the threshold of the war-torn firestorm to come,
(from which, no matter who we are, we cannot run).
Standing in the desert where I live and where, in sand,
I’ve made my bed, while pointing statue-like at light,
I am nostalgic for the chemistry which fuelled my
then insatiable, voracious and incendiary appetite
for peril (though that has not changed one mite).
Now, instead of Gilbert’s fine explosive set of tools
I find my thunder in a woman’s wild and wondrous
jewels which, through her crucible, can burn my soul
in ways that those with Gilbert’s set may never know.
Still waiting for that chemistryful woman to appear,
my blazing Bunsen burner scans the stratosphere.
© Alan Morrison, 2015