David Lewis Paget
Dr. Horcas Quintessential Gypsy Merry-Go-Round
The summer season was almost gone
The circus had been and went,
We looked on sadly across the green
As they packed the final tent,
The trailers gone to follow the sun
And they left the meadow scarred,
With a hundred thousand footprints left
I could see from my own backyard.
The days grew cold and the nights drew down
It was dark by half past six,
There was nothing left to enchant us now
But a night at the local flicks,
Then barely a week had passed us by
When we woke to the sound of the drum,
A laughing, dancing troupe went by
And the dress was Romanian.
A couple of semis followed on
With a painted screen surround,
‘Doctor Horcas Quintessential
They travelled on to the meadow
And they erected tents and things,
Then built a great contraption there
That looked like a box, with wings.
At one end there was an opening
Like a giant mouth, with teeth,
If you wanted to ride the Merry-Go-Round
You had to pass in beneath,
Then up on a winding stairway that
Would take you right to the top,
With a view of the countryside up there
That would make your eyeballs pop.
It wasn’t a simple fairground ride
For the cars were all enclosed,
And each in the shape of an Avatar
Like a Wolverine, a Toad,
And some were painted with leaping flames
And others, coated in ice,
Some appeared to be bound in chains
On one was a sacrifice.
A woman, laid on an altar stone
A scimitar raised on high,
And a great big hulking Blackamoor
Looked down with an evil eye,
While a man in an ancient topper raised
And tapped with his cane as well,
‘Roll up, roll up, for the Moon is up
And this ride is bound for hell! ’
The people paid at a wicket gate
And they moved into the cars,
A couple laughed and got into one
That looked like the planet Mars,
But I was stayed at the wicket gate
When they said that the ride was full,
And watched it slowly spinning around
As I waited, sat on a stool.
I’d never seen rides as strange as this
The lids were all battened down,
You couldn’t see what went on inside
As they spun and flipped around,
They dipped down under the wooden deck
Then shot up into the skies,
And came down tumbling, strangely rumbling
Screams and shrieks and cries.
The band came up to the upper deck
And they played a Gypsy tune,
They danced themselves to a frenzy there
Beneath a harvest moon,
They drowned the sound of the riders out
The ride, it came to a stop,
But when they opened the battened lids
I was left with a sense of shock.
For steam poured out of the Wolverine,
And smoke poured out of the Goat,
The other riders came out all right
But seemed to be quite remote.
They came out shocked, lost in a trance
As they filed on down the stair,
And nobody spoke, but stared ahead
Each lost in his own nightmare.
I suddenly changed my mind at that
And fought my way down the stair,
I couldn’t manage to get my breath
‘Til I got to the open air,
I heard it wasn’t Romanian
As at first I’d thought it was,
It was more like Transylvanian
I said to my girlfriend, Ros.
It sold its rides for a single night
Then packed and was on its way,
Nobody saw which way it went
Or knows to the present day,
But twenty people had disappeared
As the meadow was churned to mud,
And I saw signs on the following day
That suspiciously looked like blood.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem (Dr. Horcas Quintessential Gypsy Merry-Go-Round by David Lewis Paget )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
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