Carousel – Poem


Painted ponies circle

To tinny, manic refrain

The scenery, on repeat


and again

and again

Slack hands hold

futile reins

Cling to lonely little joys

Private little pains

No awkward eye contact

no face to face

Comfortably kept apart

by carefully measured space

Lone rangers

each of us

Playing at pretend

Riding wooden horse

with imaginary friend

traversing barren mental plains

Always crowned the winner

Of solitary games

the carousel keeps turning

Its faded orbit fixed

we by choice keep riding




Sometimes poems arrived dressed for the ball, others come with uncut fabric and making them presentable requires untold stitching, unpicking and hard work.  This poem started out as a fragment of prose in my notebook about selfishness and narcissism, the poem retains an element of this but extends the thought further in a different direction.

These were the original few lines “Is there hope for an inverted society?  The serpent eating it’s tail?  Round and round the carousel, distracted by tinny music and the scent of candy floss.  A safe distance from the next pony and passenger, going nowhere.”  “The prose was scrapped but the Carousel image hung around and wanted to find its way to expression.   Even as a poem it was hard to get going just the first lines were reworked over and over.  These false starts show a bit of the struggle :

The carousel slowly turns, painted ponies, tinny tune

We ride painted ponies, with painted on smiles

We ride painted ponies, to a maddening tinny tune



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