Poetry Friday: The Fair by Hank Hudepohl

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Summer break is a week away, and my kids are filled with plans for fun, fun, fun.  Week after next, there is a town fair with rides and cotton candy and loud music. That is the talk of the day, these last waning days of the school year.

The Fair by Hank Hudepohl

Before the gates opened, before popcorn
and cotton candy drifted down throats

like sweet and salty summer evenings
of childhood, before the townspeople

confessed to the music and lights,
the Ferris wheel baskets swung empty

in a slow arc, one by one, offering color
to the sky — red, yellow, orange, blue.

Just roving boys, what else could we do
but follow the sandaled feet of girls

out to the fair to buy them rides
until our pockets turned up penniless,

until we lost them in the dark
the way sparrows will fly from you,

until our last walk past the fun house
mirrors stretched our bodies like gum,

when we caught ourselves looking
back at ourselves for the first time.


18 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Fair by Hank Hudepohl

  1. Tara, what a wonderful find this poem is. It takes me all the way back to my childhood. There are vivid images in this poem that make those days seem almost real now instead of a fading memory. I hope you will have an offering for Spring’s Symphony.

  2. Oh, I’m looking forward to those county fairs, too! At the Northwest Washington Fair, they have a section in the Arts & Crafts barn for kids’ collections – toy horses, cars, Legos, dolls, locks, keys, old postcards, political pins! I look forward to those all year. What a lovely poem, Tara. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I have to piggyback on what Carol said. This poem truly captivates those images of childhood. Feelings of freedom, innocence and curiously. What an beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Our trip to the amusement park here is a big day for us. I love this Tara, wish I had had it to share with the students. County fairs hold their own flavor, however, and this poem shows that perfectly.

  5. This conjures up so many memories, especially when we began dating! We actually have a carnival here in town this weekend, but a much smaller scale than a county fair. I might have to go to find some poetry ideas for myself!

  6. This poem is a delight and these words conjure up such memories of childhood. Thanks, Tara, for sharing.
    “…before popcorn
    and cotton candy drifted down throats

    like sweet and salty summer evenings
    of childhood,”

  7. Summer has just ended where I am from so this poem definitely makes me crave it more. There’s a kind of laziness accompanied by excitement in the summer air and this poem captures it perfectly.

  8. Now that is a perfect poem. Had me, hook, line, and sinker & then that punch at the end. Thanks so much for sharing, Tara – and I hope your fair (& your summer, too) bring smiles all around.

  9. Fun poem! We just went to a local fair the other day too. This is getting us ready for summer. Have a great one!

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