Hampstead Heath

Some people say you should never try to repeat an experience.  Growing up I loved funfairs. The smells, the screams, the excitement. And I liked nothing better than going to the funfair on Hampstead Heath.

Then, at the ripe old age of about twenty, the fair lost its appeal. One day I saw through all the glitz and the glitter. After that, it was never the same again.

And I wrote this poem:

Hampstead Heath

The candy floss is sour

The swings go slower now

Everything goes slower now

Instead of rainbow colours

I see peeling paint

stage make-up

and torn clothes

All the fun of the fair

is written in quotes

and a question mark

The toffee apples

are yellow with age

We grew up together

Pennies are to be counted

before they’re thrown away

Each roundabout is analysed

Which goes furthest

longest, cheapest?

No more impulsive jumping on

Sad faced people in jumble sale clothes

Snot nosed children hands outstretched

Gypsy Marie – cross her palm with silver

or be cursed for ever

Fairylit night of Christmas boxed bulbs

Tinny pops scratch out a legend of

Hold on to me babes

and let’s spend the night together

Couples entwined

hands in each other’s pockets

feeling their way through

the darkening night

And, as for me,

I can still hear the shouts

and the screams

the “roll up misters”

when all the fun of the fair

is out of sight.

 © Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


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