Bright-coloured, mirror-plated, strung with lights,
With swan-shaped cars and prancing wooden horses,
The silent waiting merry-go-round invites
A swarm of eager riders for its courses.
It moves: a painted minature cosmos, turning
With planetary music blaring loud.
The riders lean intent, lips parted, faces burning;
Brief smiles float out towards the watching crowd.
On their brass poles the horses rise and fall
In undulant flight; the children ride through dreams.
How faery-bright to them, how magical,
The crude and gaudy mechanism seems!
Almost I see the marvel that they see,
And hear like them the music of the spheres;
They smile out of the enchanted whirl to me.
The lights and colours suddenly dim with tears.
But now their turning world is slowing, slowing;
Horses and music stop: how brief the ride!
New-comers clamber on as these are going
Reluctantly to join the crowd outside.