Recently, Lesley, Marin, and I visited Crescent Park Carousel in Riverside, Rhode Island. It was hand-carved by Charles Looff in 1895 and is still revolving with joy. My poem is modeled in structure after Richard Wilbur’s “June Light”:
At Crescent Park Carousel
Your choice, in passing by a bridled face
Belonging to a stationary roan,
Was pitched to pick a jumper, she of bone-
White shoulders, a statue of a steeplechase
Which you had claimed as yours, and yours alone.
Then your grip tightened on that golden pole
Some master carver set within your horse
For permanent ascent. How close our course
Circled, and how constricted our control,
Meant little locked in radiating force.
And you leaned out—if I could only sing
Over the Wurlitzer, I might still be
Accordant with that same calliope—
To grasp the brassy medal of a ring.