Saturday, July 26, 2008

73. Alton Towers

The name 'Alton Towers' will be familiar to all Brits and, no doubt, to quite a few Europeans. I lived in a house almost at the gates of Alton Towers during WW2. It is now one of the largest fun-fares in Europe. I passed its entrance some years ago but I had no desire to go in. This poem explains why.

On my Clickpicks page you will see the Alton Towers of my dreams and 'the other' one!


If you buy me a ticket to Alton Towers
You'll earn no gratitude!
I'll turn it down
With a withering frown,
Though I'll be considered rude.

Once, so long ago, my Alton Towers
Lay hidden among the trees,
Etched on the sky
With turrets high
Like the towers on some ancient frieze.

The barbed-wire, fashioned to keep us out
Was no match for our youthful zeal
We'd giggle and laugh
As we climbed the path
For 'The War' seemed quite unreal.

Though Armageddon had been unleashed,
We were free to roam, quite wild,
No lurking 'Stranger'
To threaten 'Danger',
A child could be a child.

Oh, yes, there were soldiers, so we heard,
In the buildings tucked away
And excitement grew
For we always knew
That they would not let us stay.

Covered in moss were neglected paths,
We watched where we put our feet.
Flowers, untamed,
By weeds now claimed,
Were neither pruned nor neat.

The gates had gone and the railings too
'For munitions' so they said,
We were free as air
As we wandered there
Wherever the wild paths led.

And acre on acre stretched out, it seemed,
To the very edge of time.
And our hearts beat fast
As we wandered past!
Trespassing was a crime!

The Chinese Pagoda! What a thrill
To climb up to the top.
No safety rail
If our hold should fail!
And below a dizzying drop.

The nineteen-forties, a time of Fear
Of bestial, warlike powers,
But not for me,
Because, you see,
I remember Alton Towers.

And so they advertise Alton Towers.
'Come for the Rides!' they say.
But there isn't a chance
That I'd waste a glance
On the place as it is today.

My Alton Towers was a place of dreams,
And something set apart.
It is gone, I fear,
But I hold it near
In a special place in my heart.


Kat said...

I think you needn't ever go inside Alton Towers...

It's safe in your heart, the way you always see it.

Westerwitch/Headmistress said...

Yup agree totally and I prefer the Towers of you memories than today's reality.

Louise | Italy said...

Yes, yes, yes! How magical our childhood wanderings were. Even as a child of the 60s I was able to roam freely about, and the great weeping willow that separated my grandfather's vegetable garden from the manicured expanse of the house that backed onto it was a gateway to another, forbidden world. Now, I hope that my children will have a little glimpse of that...

Gemma Wiseman said...

A wild magical world waiting for discoveries fires a child's imagination! Plastic shows somehow don't quite linger in the memory! A great poem!

The Friday Forgotten said...

Thank you for visiting The Friday Forgotten and linking your post. Your imagination and creativity should never lie dusty in a dark corner of your blog. We are happy to help clear away the cobwebs.

I too would not go in in!! Preserve those child hood memories they are for sure to be better. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for allowing me to read it.