Learn English » English Literature » Poem 'Remembering Fireworks' by Elizabeth Jennings


Remembering Fireworks

Always as if for the first time, we watch
the fireworks as if no-one had ever
done this before, made shapes, signs
cut diamonds on air, sent up stars
nameless, imperious. And in the falling
of fire, the spent rocket, there is a kind
of nostalgia, as normally only attaches
to things long known and lost. Such an absence
such emptiness of sky the fireworks leave
after their festival. We, fumbling
for words of love, remember the rockets
the spinning wheels, the sudden diamonds
and say with delight “Yes, like that, like that”
Oh and the air is full of falling
stars surrendered. We search for a sign.

Analysis

The poem ‘Remembering fireworks’ describes nostalgia for a sky lit up with fireworks. It could also have a deeper meaning. When we begin something, often there is fireworks – a lot of excitement. However, once the euphoria is over, we are left with an empty feeling.

Summary

The poet begins the poem by saying that whenever we see fireworks, we watch it as though we have never seen one before and as though no one has done this before. Fireworks produce shapes and signs in the air. Diamonds and stars are made in the air.

“…made shapes, signs

cut diamonds on air, sent up stars”

When fireworks are over, in the “spent rocket”, we feel a certain nostalgic feeling. We feel that we have lost a magnificent thing. This is because the sky is left empty, after fireworks.

The poem has a deeper meaning. When we have exciting life incidents, we get involved in them and enjoy them as though no one has done it before. We have such euphoric moments in our life, but after they are over, there is an empty feeling. We just have memories of the excitement, and when in life incidents happen, we always compare with the initial fireworks of excitement.

“remember the rockets

the spinning wheels, the sudden diamonds

and say with delight “Yes, like that, like that””

After the initial euphoria or fireworks is over, we try to recapture it. However, we “fumble” while searching for the right word to say. We are constantly searching for a “sign” that our initial love and euphoria are still there. Here, ‘sign’ could be a symbol, an image from the bible. When Christ was born, a star is supposed to have risen to tell the three kings where to go. Thus, the star is a sign of good times, and we look for it when good times are over.

Language and imagery

The poem is replete with vocabulary and images that are connected with fireworks: “shapes”, “stars”, “diamonds”, and “rockets”. Enjambment is used in the poem to establish a fast rhythm and pace, which is very much in keeping with the theme of fireworks in the poem and its deeper meaning of temporary excitement and euphoria. There is clever use of the word “falling” at the end of two lines, “of fire” and “stars”. Both are indicative of the physical action of falling. They are paradoxical in sense too, since fire and stars do not usually fall. They, by their very nature, rise. Thus, the poem makes clever use of language techniques to aid its theme.

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