came one fine morning to our village.
No one knew exactly how it happened,
but there it was: oh overnight, it looked like,
from the field you kicked mud round all winter
bloomed the rides that soared towards the sky
like weird trees, like rides do. What the fair was

was a stall where you threw balls at coconuts
though they’d done nothing to you, and a child’s face
behind a cloud of candyfloss as big
as it was. Look, there was a hot dog van,
a toffee apple stand, and there, a mini
big wheel you threw up on. What the fair was

was old men there on the park benches, snoring
like the old men they were, and if they dreamt
good dreams then they dreamt this: that girl there, doing
handstands in the sun, as ‘Beadle’ Jones,
your teacher, strolled in shirtsleeves with his missis
and you felt how you feel on a warm day

like this is. Goldfish darted through a world
you could carry, what you had was 50p
and your father’s Spend it wisely, and if you threw
a ring and missed, or tossed a dart and hit
the next stall over, hey, at least your brother—
he’d won nothing either. There were still hours

of bugging the pouched stallholders for freebies,
starting 50-a-side football matches,
or failing that, sitting in the shade resting.
Then that half an hour when the magic
was packed away: the stalls, the rides, became
lorries, cars, the field beneath the field

it always was, the people turned to people
they’d been before, then look, to those who’d gone.
Later, you’d find your home darker, stranger,
a goldfish in a mixing bowl, your father
with the coconut and his best hammer.
But now that moment, in the cooling twilight,

when someone turned the sound of the river up
and in an empty field a giggling girl
landed on her feet, your village turned
the right way up once more and, juggling
world-shaped football and her hand, you walked
towards your home, the night, this time next year.