Midwinter Fair

A hypertext poem...

Nowhere but in London, rebuilt
for the occasion, on a Thames
months in the freezing: a year-long
midwinter rosy-cheeked
Santa Claus feast. Oh, the team
that planned it, built it, watched
as it grew from crazy notion
to wobbling impossible rickety
ginormous this-cannot-possibly-work,
but somehow it did.

The architects, alchemists, farriers, stone-masons,
nuclear scientists, blacksmiths and forgemasters,
earthmovers, wood-carvers, armature winders,
coppersmiths, crane hirers, rubber stamp makers
all pitched in with a shameless nostalgia
for something never remembered
and never had been. But, Lord, it was fun.

Then came the breath-bated, long waited
royalty graced, televised, and over
extravagandised day of opening. Well,
in from all nations (terrestrial and extra) flew
princesses, dictators, duly elected state
chairmen, prime ministers, viziers, caliphs,
duchesses, dukes, and baronets, kings,
tyrants, grand panjandra, sultanas, presidents...

and the problems of protocol: who should go first,
or sit at the front, can just be imagined.
Diplomacy cobbled a working solution,
and finally somebody lit the blue touchpaper.

Then there was music and dancing, with tabors,
and crumhorns, guitars, tambourines, castanets,
triangles, viols, and harpsichords, serpents,
oboes and piccolos, xylophones, 'cellos,
seventy six trombones, and a Big Bass Drum.

Then there were stalls for eating and drinking.
Then there were games for all to join in.
Then there were fire-eaters, tumblers and jugglers,
clowns and stilt-walkers, acrobats, tight-
rope walkers who'd almost (but not quite) fall...
Then there were secrets and laughter and romance.
Then you could wander a week and not find
an end to it all...