Camelot Theme Park





We went there every spring
(a kind of ritual if you like)
before the crowds got in,
donning heels to make the big rides.

In spite of growing up
we rode the Caterpillar first
then capered down the hill
to turn back time on Excalibur.

We screamed a swinging world
on the edge of a silver sword
as coins spilt from our pockets
to feed the eager coffers below.

We braved the Tower of Terror,
dredged the rumbling bowels of the Beast,
then thundered through the Gauntlet
emerging with souvenirs and ice-cream.

Our favourite entertainment
commenced at lunch and tea times:
we had to watch the jousting,
and we had to watch it twice.

The jester raised good laughter,
Mordred boos and drumming feet.
Sir Lancelot, the hero,
always won by the skin of his teeth.

As the fading sun set
closing gates meant time for home.
Our parents reconciled us
next year in spring we would return.

A promise unfulfilled;
recession, rain and rotten luck,
unforeseen, against our will
put an end to our faithful park.

And should the pumps go down at Banks
cold Vivian lies waiting
in Martin Mere’s sunken climes
for times of reclamation

when Camelot’s old towers and rides
submerge in watery mist
and Lancelot, with tales of knights,
returns to the lands of myth.

Vivian, Martin Mere (Sacred Circle Tarot

3 thoughts on “Camelot Theme Park

  1. Gwynn ap Nudd

    I really like this poem, Lorna.
    I have followed your Bardic Blog since early November and you normally write about the immediate area around Penwortham.
    This time you seem to be venturing out a little further from Preston-perhaps about 10 miles south-east -to Camelot theme park. And I guess Banks and Martin Mere are about 7 miles south west from your home, roughly?
    You don’t usually reflect on past personal memories in your poems-I don’t think-so its an interesting departure-but none of the magic of your poems has been lost in this one.

    I’m not going to force my own more private reflections on this poem onto anyone.
    But I’d just like to mention a few issues for anyone who may not know the area you write about.

    First just something about the verse which starts..

    ‘And if the pumps go down at Banks..’

    Some people may not be aware that ‘Banks’ is a small village in West Lancashire that is scheduled for shale gas exploration by a process known as ‘fracking’. And I believe Lorna that is referring to this threat here in that line.
    Much of the area around Preston, Blackpool and Southport (West Lancashire) is going to be a big area for fracking in the future. Fracking was in the news a lot at the weekend here in the UK as the government has given shale gas exploration the ‘go-ahead’.
    It could be the next Gold Rush, the next thing to the North Sea oil bonanza –
    but it’ll come at a cost to our landscapes and to the climate.

    If you’re reading this, and if you live in the UK -or indeed in several EU country-there’s a big chance that you could find that your local countryside is about to be drilled away in the search for shale gas over the next 10-15 years.
    Please get informed and stop it.
    The main issue-in my view-is not about unsightly wells/transport links to the fracking sites-but it is about failing to reduce carbon emissions and missing UK climate change targets. If we pursue shale gas, we’re giving up on any chance to tackle climate change.
    For more info please see website; or try the BBC, Guardian with their info on fracking-
    or get involved via Friends of the Earth etc.

    I know the ‘Martin Mere’ that the poem refers to.
    I’ve known it since I was a child and I absolutey love the area.
    It is near the fracking sites. It is one of the most important wetland sites in the UK. It is a nature reserve run by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust that was set up by Sir Peter Scott.
    In December you get around 200 Whooper Swans from Iceland there and in the general Ribble area there are about 20,000 Pink footed Geese.
    There is no finer sight in the world than a flock of these geese flying to roost in a winter sky.
    It filled our ancestors with great wonder and they saw something divine in the very sight of these creatures flocking in formation.
    Nothing in any theme park can compare with it.

    This land is about to be defiled.
    Surely this land will regenerate-whatever happens with fracking the land will outlive us- but we must play our part now to save this very special area.
    And to save our planet from further avoidable climate change..

    There was a time a few hundred years ago when Martin Mere was the biggest lake in England.
    It stretched from out in Banks -near modern Southport-to as far east as the site of Camelot theme park-which is nearly in modern Chorley. I guess the lake was about 10 miles long?
    There was a local legend that it was here that the baby Lancelot was left by his parents at the edge of the lake (Martin Mere) as they fled for their lives. Lancelot was taken and looked after by Vivian at the bottom of the lake. Lancelot went on to be the most favoured Knight of the Round Table in Arthurian legend.
    There is a story about the Lady of the Lake.
    It is said that she gave Arthur the Sword of Excalibur.
    I think that ,by the taking the sword from the Lady of the Lake, the land was eventually saved.

    Perhaps I am stretching a story too far.
    But this land is now under threat and I see the very spirit of the land reaching out from the waters pleading for help and asking for us to take on the fight.

    So please find out about fracking and get on to your MP and join campaigns locally if you can.

    Finally, I know that Lorna has a cdeep affection for horses.
    I must point out tyherefore that today the 18th December was Eponalia in the Roman calender.
    This was the feast day of the Roman/Celtic goddess.

    We need to reconnect to our land and its traditions especially when we are called to honour the sanctity of other living creatures -as we are today-horses and ponies who have been our friends, that have been here a lot longer than we have- but done so much less to destroy this beautiful planet.
    Thanks for a lovely poem and accompanying photo.

  2. Gwynn ap Nudd

    I love this poem ‘Camelot Theme Park.’
    I love the way you take us into the excitement of a child’s view of Camelot
    Sad that there ever had to be that
    ‘inexorable sun set’
    ‘a promise unfufilled’
    and that Camelot is now gone, like childhood too,
    to be but a watery mist.

    Some weeks ago I recall including the poem ‘Lady of Shalott’ by Tennyson in one of my (as usual) long winded replies about your poem The Awen.
    So I was delighted to read your poem here on a theme of Camelot-and so cleverly juxtaposing the theme park and the legend, the commercial and the landscape.

    There is something in the poem about the passage of time.
    There’s a slightly dream like feel to those thoughts of reclamation towards the final verse.
    And there’s muted lament, I sense, about something lost.

    I thought of an excerpt from The Tempest by William Shakespeare
    (whoever he is?)


    Our revels now are ended. These our actors
    As I foretold to you,were all spirits and
    Are melted into airinto thin air:
    And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
    The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
    The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
    Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on, and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.

    I enjoyed your poem on Camelot.
    The land may sleep tonight and we all must.
    But there will be a new dawn for Camelot and a daytime too.

  3. Gwynn ap Nudd

    Thanks for your great poem about Camelot Theme Park.
    The motto of the Camelot Park was apparently..
    ‘The land of magical knights and amazing days’
    (A standard of punnery worthy of my brother actually)
    But now its gone, has Camelot, to be used for housing development.
    What a disenchantment
    A promise unfulfilled.

    Your poem reminded me of a poem by Stephen Dunn a Pulitzer Prize winner.
    The poem is called Happiness.
    It’s about a place you can enter but you can’t stay
    Its a castle that you can visit but it doesn’t really exist although you think it does
    And there’s always the danger of disappointment or of waking from the dream to be disenchanted.

    A state you must dare not enter
    with hopes of staying,
    quicksands in the marshes, and all

    the roads leading to a castle
    that does not exist.
    But there it is, as promised,

    with its perfect bridge above
    the crocodiles,
    and its doors forever open.

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