Tag Archives: 1960’s

Circles of the Merry Go Round

Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          – John Keats

Circles of the Merry Go Round

The ride just goes round, never ending turn
it goes and goes and where it started
no one can say
But its end shall have us all, some day
some summer, some hot summer day

Step right up!  Pay your ticket!
climb on the shiniest, golden horse
let the motors grind and the music play
your greatest find that it should last all day,
all on a hot summers day

Ice cream melting, trickling
sticky fingers grabbing mommas hand
passing crowds eagerly longing for just a taste
swallowing their own lives in the terrific haste
passing by, not seeing, on a summer day

Momma’s attentive, loving to a fault
always in reach, that most soothing reach
the hawker cried with such force: Guess your weight!
I should have peed myself, nearly too late
on a sticky, sticky summer day

Father never caring, another mouth to feed
his cold eyes looking but never seeing
he grabbed the great mallet with eyes on the prize
looking through me as he swung, my insignificant size
and the bell rung on this lonely, lonely day

Quit lagging!  he yelled, me just a nuisance
nothing but another stupid bill to pay
must hurry on to the next great trick to amaze
but daddy, I just need to be loved these days
on this awful, sad summer day

Mother, don’t go, I need you so
you musn’t leave me alone
you’ve melted away, drop by drop, ending my wonderful dream
sticky fingers reaching for yours, colder than this dripping ice cream
on this terribly cold summer day

And so I ride this ride, round and round
music piercing, gears haunting, horses snarling
years passing by, more blurry than the spectators outside
them thinking what fun, me shouting “But they lied!”
Mother’s gone….  and I have bills to pay, on this non-day


As you have already discovered, this poem is a metaphor about the circular nature of life.   It’s not really about a summer day or a carnival, nor even a merry go round though it certainly is suggestive of all of those things.   It is about a man’s life, a love for his mother, a misunderstanding of his father, who he regretfully finds that he has turned into.  I hope that you enjoyed my little carnival ride….  Thank you for stopping by…..

The form of this poem:    It is constructed on eight stanzas of five lines each, also sometimes called quintets.  Lines three and four have a tail rhyme.  The last line of each quintet ends with the same word and repeats the theme of the poem,  in this case, very simply – a summer day.  This form has no set metre, except the poet’s eye.


Please visit the work of this wonderful photographer, Mr. Damien Franco at http://damienfranco.com/

© 2011 John Richter