May I have a shilling to spend at Mitcham Fair?
It’s been held for centuries and I want to see what’s there.
I’ve heard of pony riding, steam roundabouts and swings,
and peddlers and gypsies selling pretty things.
I want to see the circus and the booths for dancing,
peepshows, dioramas, test your strength and boxing.
I know that there are marionettes, rifle range and waltzer,
cake walk, ghost train, chair-o-planes and helter-skelter.
I can almost taste the jellied eels, vinegary fish and chips,
and glutinous, pink candy floss, sugary on my lips.
I can hear the Mitcham Whisper, the coconut shy man’s call,
‘Roll, bowl or pitch!’ as he hands out the balls.
I want to breathe in Naptha and marvel at the bright
illuminations that ignite on the rides at twilight.
I want to spend my shilling on a special goal:
to throw some hoops and win myself a goldfish in a bowl.
Kim M. Russell, 2017
My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics – Amuse me! Take me for a ride!
Today, Lillian has opened the bar and is ready to serve up some fun! She tells us that, when she was young, she was taken on an annual summer outing to Riverview Park in Chicago, Illinois, a 74 acre amusement park, crowded with families, thrill seekers, young couples and scout troops. Some of her favourite rides were The Bobs, a wooden rollercoaster on which her dad broke a rib; The Tunnel of Love; Shoot the Chutes; The Pair-O-Chutes; and Aladdin’s Castle, a classic fun house that included a collapsing stairway, door mazes, a turning barrel, and air chutes on the outside walkways that blew up ladies’ dresses to the delight of gawkers outside. She says that amusement parks like Disney World have become more sophisticated but there is still the occasional small carnival in a mall parking lot and the Iowa State Fair.
Lillian has asked us to dig back in our memories and think about amusement parks, carnivals, rides, cotton candy, state fairs. Did we ever ride a ferris wheel or a carousel? Maybe we can evoke the madcap feeling of a place like this or use the idea as an extended metaphor. In any case, she wants us to amuse her, take her on a ride, use our imaginations and have fun with this!