Penny For The Guy

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this weeks edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 6th of November 2017 on Red Kite Radio.

To celebrate Bonfire Night, in the UK, we look at Davy D’s poem and the fading tradition of Penny for the Guy, where effigies of Guy Fawkes were paraded around the streets for money. The Guy then being burned on top of a bonfire, on the 5th of November, in honour of the failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

If you are having difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of Davy D’s poem is provided after the sound bar.

To hear this weeks show, please press the arrow on the left of the sound bar below.


Penny for the Guy

getting going was
always the hard bit,
all of us round at Baldies.
he had the poshest house,
the fattest dad.

every year it was the same,
on the floor arguing.
would his backside look big in this?
what’s the best stuffing
Mail, Mirror, Sun?

I don’t know how it happened
amongst the tantrums,
amongst the “I’m off to join another gang.”
but, somehow,
over days,
he appeared;
more like Worzel Gummidge
than Guy Fawkes,
if I’m honest.

for the next two weeks
he became part of the gang.
sleeping in each of our bedrooms,
listening in on our intimate secrets.

from inside a wheelbarrow
he earned his keep
ferried through lane and street

“Penny for the Guy” – our battle-cry

I remember one year
he earned enough
to buy the five of us
a pennorth of chips each,
and a piece of haddock.

how did we repay him?
stuck him on top of a bonfire,
burned him,
to honour some bloke who
tried to blow up Parliament.

he was indestructible.
came back every year,
until Old Misery from the
Council said he was illegal.

Old Misery would never know
it was his string vest and Y-Fronts
accompanying Guy on
his last journey.

I’m sure I saw a smile,
through those final flames.

© Davy D 2017


Thanks Davy D, this poem about the Guy is really good and funny and it gives me a good feel how it was to grow up with this tradition. I have always been bemused as to why one was asked for a penny for the guy…, then celebrated him and burnt him. Until I read he almost burnt James the 1st with the Parliament. Oh, but to be an Englishman.😊.

Liked by 1 person

I always enjoy hearing your voice, the delight of your accent, and learning history. I knew a bit about bonfires (I watch BBC America and Midsummer Murders always has a bonfire in some episode…) But it was lovely to learn its history. Thanks for the two poems. A real treat!

Liked by 1 person

    A pleasure Lesley and thank you for your kind comments and continued support. Howard and myself live in the heart of Midsummer Murder Country. The village I live in has featured in a number of episodes. Occasionally see them filming when I am out on my wanders. The bonfires have nothing to do with me 🙂


Excellent poems, Davy D!
Thank you for always teaching me, making me think, and bringing me joy! I knew nothing of Guy Fawkes, but now I do.
I could listen to your voice on and on and not tire of it.
(Fireworks and fish and chips sound delightful.)
I look forward to the next Poetic Beat!
(((HUGS))) 🙂

Liked by 1 person

    I am humbled by your lovely comments Carolyn so thank you. I enjoy Poetic Beats as the research always takes me to areas of poetry and history I never knew. Next week we will be doing some poetry from the Great War. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Very much enjoyed your story today, Davy, and your free verse poem really captured that youthful excitement which I remember Nov 5th bringing long ago. Not the same nowadays, although the grandchildren still enjoy it. I’m wondering if you get much feedback for your poetry sessions from your listening public?

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you Roland, I am glad you enjoyed it. The audience for Poetic Beats is starting to grow as there are more people stopping me and saying they are listening to it. One of the plans for next year is to get more local poets involved and to hear different voices.

    Liked by 1 person

Your voice compliments each and every word, Davy!

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Reblogged this on Go Dog Go Café and commented:
Davy D and Howard Bond on Poetic Beats

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I was never a fan of burning the Guy (or anyone) on a Bonfire, but I loved the poem, especially the end. Great story – left me with a smile. 🙂

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I was never a fan of burning the Guy (or anyone) on a Bonfire, but I loved the poem, especially the end. Great story – left me with a smile. 🙂 Loved hearing the reading and the interview too.

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Interesting poem and history Davy, thanks for sharing! Liked the storytelling quality of this free verse poem.

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Brought back some great memories this one. Fantastic stuff, Dave.

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Thank you for the share. Hope you are having a good weekend.


Thanks for featuring this Dan. It is greatly appreciated.


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