Sunday, November 25, 2018

Rik George writes

The Quiet Carousel

The carousel is still. The gilt 

has peeled from its poles in curling strips 
and lies on the deck. The mirrors melt 
debris to fantasies. A sad 
slow wind rattles the empty cups; 
they sound like horses on parade. 
I half-convince myself I hear 
the wheeze of a distant calliope 
and see clowns caper in the road. 
Small flakes of snow fall through the tears 
in the carousel’s canvas top. I see 
no clowns, I hear no song but wind 
drumming the canvas mournfully 
and rolling the cups along the ground.

 -- Christian Bolz

1 comment:

  1. The word "carousel" derived from the Italian "garosello" (Spanish "carosella"), meaning "little battle," by which Crusaders described a combat preparation exercise and game played by Muslim horsemen in which riders would gallop in a circle while tossing balls from one to another. It was a cavalry training mechanism to prepare knights for combat. By the 17th century the balls had been dispensed with, and horsemen speared small rings hanging from overhead poles. As cavalry spectacles replaced medieval jousting, the sport began to be played by commoners, and carousels sprang up at fairgrounds across Europe, and a carousel was set up with wooden horses for children at the Place du Carrousel in Paris. Thomas Bradshaw invented a steam-driven model, which debuted at the 1861 Aylsham fair (near Norwich, England), described in the "Halifax Courier" as "a roundabout of huge proportions, driven by a steam engine which whirled around with such impetuousity, that the wonder is the daring riders are not shot off like cannon- ball, and driven half into the middle of next month." At about the same time Frederick Savage shifted from agricultural machinery production into the construction of fairground machines; among other innovations he installed "Platform Gallopers" that used gears and offset cranks to give the animals an up-and-down motion as they rotated around the center pole, as well as "platform-slides" to let them swing out concentrically as the carousel built up speed.


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