Fair Days


When the sunlight’s soft yellow
coloring leaves from within;
soft skies streaked with blue ribbons
pierce tall pines scrubbed stark green;
when squashes and pumpkins
seem to get more gold than their share–
once again it’s time for the fair.

“I wanted the music to go on forever”
I wanted us to be easy and gay.
I wanted the lights to dance on the river
like stars turned on night and day.
We would be children then and forever
hop-scotching our likes, teasing our loves.
We would ride boats and merry-go-rounds,
their lights would twinkle ‘til close.

The midway of madness would last all our lives.
We’d dress up as jesters and jeer at the rubes,
we’d braid rhinestones of rainbows into our hair,
then paint our future from the brims of full tubes.
Our faces would glitter daring guile to emerge,
as calliopes, bells, and brass bands swelled the fall air
with smells of candy, and popcorn; those midway treats
whose memories still bring the taste of their sweets.

But this year fair days descend to drear and to gloom;
empty and vacant like sandlots left with broken balloons,
nothing but refuse, bits of paper from tarts
broken prizes, promises, among discarded hearts.

We dared both gravity and fate
as we flew carefree above the throng.
Those crazy house mirrors that delayed
winking flirtations, this year have gone.
The promises made on a ferris-wheel ride
have vanished along with our song.
This autumn holds me in a black-eyed stare,
how can I ever go back to the fair.

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * 11.6.2014 * All Rights Reserved

28 thoughts on “Fair Days

  1. oh that close made my heart heavy gay… it starts so merry and joyful with all the magic and lights of a fair… def. there are such and such times in our lives… and the more gloomy days make us wish back the music and ferris wheel rides… they will return though.. smiles

  2. ah a sad close…all the promises made atop the ferris wheel have gone to weeds….that would def ruin fair time as from anywhere in the park you can see the looming wheel that has now turned on you….i do love the live music of the fair…

  3. Perhaps more wistful than sad, dear Gay; I loved finding your name in the poem; subliminal or happy accident? Love the line/the midway of madness would last all our lives/; a grand
    MTB prompt, something fresh & new, conjuring word smithing & grammatical patter; fun will be had by all; fair assumption.

  4. The fair..such a joyful place normally but suddenly turned gloomy and dark .. the contrasts between the joyous and the dark and gloom works so well.. carefully chosen words to create joy and color.. and then the dark dirge at the end..

  5. “The midway of madness would last all our lives.” You say, yet end with the blank stare of loss and teh wish tio return … I remember those long fair days, escaping form work in the 4-H barns to sip and nibble, gamble and ride, listen and watch. I don’t remember noticing them ending, but they did.

    • Yes you’ve hit on my meaning. Loss is more than “breaking up”.; it can be getting old, losing your spouse, unable to endure the g-forces of roller coasters. Moving (sometimes creakily) along curtails the good times you thought you’d lost forever if not the memories of how it was and how it felt. Thank you Susan.

  6. Of course you have described the best of our land and the worst, articulately praising the the joy and “gaity” of the traditional “lights dance on the river”….turning it inside out for us to see the other side of fair, the ugliness of the park being shut down..let’s hope it does return in time to save us all. Wish I could write like so many of you here at dverse!

  7. Gay, you have captured so many images of the fair in your words. But I do also understand your change of heart at the end. “For everything there is a season,” is so very true, I think. And sometimes one’s perspective changes with the passing of years!

  8. Ah, yes, fair and circus both are nothing like what I remember them as a child! I love the way you take one specific example, illustrate it so beautifully with lots of visual description, and then contrast it with the present, lifting it to the more universal lament for the past, which can never be recaptured.

  9. Oh, the fair! I love a good clean fair. Seems like we have seen the same one. My old neighbors again I am sure. Such organized world travelers. Miss them a lot. Just like happy times with happy people at the fair. Like your elegy ending the fair and the Midway madness; never over for some of us. Love your write.

  10. the start was so enticing and whimsical….and then all of the sudden, out of nowhere it seemed, I was blindsided…my eyes glassing over…my heart melting…a stunning and lovely (albeit a bit sad) write.

  11. So sad. The ending is in such contrast to the joy of the beginning. And that last line is heart breaking. Of course she can’t go to the fair again.
    What a good read this is.

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