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Do I wish I’d had a camera, back in fifty three?

Do I wish I’d taken photographs, so now my friends could see?

Copper coins and ice cream cones and leaving brought on tears

The magic then of Jacque’s Arcade to a child of seven years.

 

“Dad, please spare some pennies

But you’ll have to lift me up”

And within the sound of crashing waves

I’d try the “Lucky Cup”

 

First penny in, a ball drops out, I spin it round and round

Will it win or will it lose, it makes a whooshing sound?

And then it misses “Lucky Cup”, “You’ve lost that one my son”.

A small face drops, Dad puts me down, and my first penny’s gone.

 

Another in, three wooden balls, I roll them up the track

I’m only small, not yet strong, they just keep rolling back.

Dad shows me how, and with one flick the ball shoots up the slope

There’s sixty on the score board now, but my score? - not a hope.

 

One penny left, I reach tip toe and suddenly it’s gone

Lights start to flash, a motor whirrs and father watches son.

An open door, a man is hanged, his final retribution

It’s stayed with me across the years, that fairground execution.

 

No, that camera wasn’t needed, way back in fifty three

And I didn’t need those photographs so others now could see

Where Jacque’s once stood, they still bowl balls, but of a different kind

The memory stays, I don’t need snaps, they’re safer in my mind.

 

But fun costs more than pennies now

There’s death and grown-up fears,

And magic’s now in Life’s Arcade

To this child of fifty years.

  

Copyright © Colin P Cadle 1995 - All Rights Reserved

 


Footnote

This lovely poem has been reproduced with the kind permission of Colin Cadle. Colin spent his childhood holidays in Whitstable and now runs a web site providing photographic images at www.colincadle.com .

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