tra la la

Tonight we are hosted by Lillian for Poetics at dVerse

When I was young, we made an annual summer outing to Riverview Park in Chicago, Illinois. 74 acres of fun founded in 1904 that finally closed down in 1967. It was called an amusement park and was always crowded with families, thrill seekers, scout troop outings, teenagers and young couples. Excitement spilled out on the midway as people watched the rides, or stood in line to wait their turn, or threw balls to knock down wooden milk bottles and win a prize. Favorite rides included The Bobs, a wooden rollercoaster on which my dad broke a rib; The Tunnel of Love; Shoot the Chutes; The Pair-O-Chutes; and Aladdin’s Castle, a classic fun house that included a collapsing stairway, door mazes, a turning barrel, and air chutes on the outside walkways that blew up ladies’ dresses to the delight of gawkers outside.

Amusement parks have become more sophisticated now: think Disney World and Epcott Center. But we still have the occasional small carnival in a mall parking lot with the obligatory Tilt-a-Whirl; and the Iowa State Fair!

For today’s Poetics, I’d like you to think about amusement parks, carnivals, rides, cotton candy, state fairs. Dig back in your memories. Did you ever ride a ferris wheel? A carousel? Maybe you can evoke the madcap feeling of a place like this. Or use the idea as an extended metaphor. In any case, amuse us, take us on a ride!

Also submitting to Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Note: Summer 1976 and paulscribbles is 13. School’s out and on the TV the Banana Splits provide the soundtrack for that summer.

I have recorded myself reading this with a nod to John Cooper Clarke. (Image of Belle Vue Zoo, courtesy of Manchester Evening News)

Listen to the poem recited below and then have a read…then maybe do both 😉


one banana

knee length white socks and short pants

tank tops mullets and flares

it’s summertime in 76

and we haven’t got a care

it’s off we go to Belle Vue Zoo

all jumping on a bus

no time at all to make the trip

the minimum of fuss

two banana

there’s elephants in Gorton now

you couldn’t make it up

but it’s a year for crazy stuff

perhaps we’ll win the cup*

the ‘showground of the world’ they say

it’s right by our back door

but no one comes from far away

they’ve seen it all before

three banana four

the chimpanzees are drinking tea

the lion takes a nap

the kids are flying on the Bobs

while mam is taking snaps

hessian sacks and bendy slides

and candy floss in clumps

my cousin terry couldn’t come

he’s sick in bed with mumps

four bananas make a bunch

the miniature railway trundles round

you better watch your back

it sneaks right up behind you

and knocks you off the track

Scenic railway’s looming large

the water chute is full

there’s kids n grannies everywhere

the moments never dull

and so do many more

the colours are all cross processed

a different shade in time

you have to queue for everything

i’m sick of bloody lines

the sun goes down we’d better shift

the bus is waiting too

we’ll laugh and joke on our way home

from the magical Belle Vue Zoo

tra la la**


* we (Manchester City FC) did 😉

** lyrics from Banana Splits Song

44 thoughts on “tra la la

  1. therisa says:

    Remember watching Banana Splits, as a kid (several years younger than you, Paul), on the local CBS station, from Buffalo, New York, around 11 am to noon, on Saturday mornings. Life seemed so much innocent, back then, as a child, compared to today. Thank you, for bringing back, that memory, for me.

  2. Singledust says:

    loved loved this so much, firstly your musical voice and the tempo you carried the verses with, i imagined it would be nice if you were drumming on a cajon at the same time. I grew up with rhymes and love how words fall and meet each other like this. Sad the park closed down but so fortunate you could relive all the memories fro us here. I watched Banana Splits too almost 10 years alter when we got it in Malaysia! So many fond memories and feelings resurfaced from listening to you and reading too. Thank you! “a different shade in time” – I wish we could go back to those sort of times, carefree and the world a much nicer place too.

  3. lillian says:

    LOVED hearing your voice — and I must say, the out-loud reading gave me a different meaning or emphasized the line “a different shade in time.” The little movie is perfect. How I wish I had an old movie from Riverview Park! Hmmm….maybe I’ll look on YouTube and see if there is one! Interesting that your park also has the Bobs! Truly glad you posted this one Paul….kind of the exclamation point on the prompt! 🙂

    • paul scribbles says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment Lillian…posting late is always a bit of shame as the post does not seem to be read as much but it was just not do-able last night. Good luck with the video search and thanks again. Check out John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Beasley Street’ for a real slice of Mancunian grit.

  4. frankhubeny says:

    I enjoyed your audio version. Unless a poem is very short, I prefer hearing it recited to understand it better. The video of the park reminds me of many I have seen near by. I liked the idea of the park being the showground of the world, and they do put on a show, but no one comes from far away.

  5. Glenn Buttkus says:

    A bit late, but worth the wait. As you probably know. as an ex-actor, I try to recite most of my poems too, hoping to enrich the reader’s experience–read the poem–listen to the audio version, then do both.

  6. Just Barry says:

    You’ve captured the feeling of being a child at a theme park! I also remember watching Banana Splits on reruns as a kid. You captured the exuberance, the gleeful anticipation of those days.

  7. kanzensakura says:

    Loved the reading aloud. Such a musical voice you have and you made this poem come alive. I would never dare read one of my poems aloud. Years ago I used to go to poetry readings (they call them slams now for some odd reason) and read aloud. but alas, that stopped. I loved the Banana Splits as well. As an adult!!!

  8. Kerry O'Connor says:

    And absolute delight to hear your poem.. such a lark but the sense of nostalgia always holds for me the poignancy of youth faded away.

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