Flight of the Roller-Coaster

Flight of the Roller-Coaster

Original Text

Collected Poems of Raymond Souster, Vol. 1: 1940-55 (Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1980): 316. PS 8537 O87A17 Robarts Library

(Old Sunnyside Beach, Toronto)
2and sure enough, when the roller-coaster reached the peak
3of the giant curve above me, shrill screech of its wheels
4almost drowned out by the shriller cries of its riders --
5instead of the dip, then the plunge with its landslide of screams,
6it rose in the air like a movieland magic carpet, some wonderful bird,
7and without fuss or fanfare swooped slowly above the amusement-park,
9then losing no height made the last yards across the beach,
10where its brakeman cucumber-cool in the last seat solemnly saluted
12ending up, as many witnesses reported later,
13heading leisurely out above the blue lake water,
14to disappear all too soon behind a low-flying flight of clouds.


1] Sunnyside Beach: the amusement park and public beach on the shores of Lake Ontario, just off Lakeshore Boulevard and south of Parkside Drive, in southwest-central Toronto, popular from the late 19th century to 1955-56. Pictures of the original roller-coaster (as well as the one reconstructed in 1932-33), named, appropriately, the Miller "Flyer," can be seen online at the Coaster Enthusiasts of Canada Web site (about 1923-24, 1926, 1932/33, 1937). See also the history by Richard Bonner. The park was closed to make room for the present Gairdner Expressway, which separates Toronto from its shoreline and is generally chock-a-block with traffic. Back to Line
8] Spook's Castle: "a haunted funhouse or walk-thru," according to the Coaster Enthusiasts of Canada Web site, which includes a postcard picture. Back to Line
11] Changing booths were fenced off but apparently open to the sky. Back to Line
Publication Start Year
Publication Notes

For what Time Slays (1955)

RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition
Special Copyright

© 1980 Collected Poems of Raymond Souster, Vol. 1: 1940-55 Oberon Press (from which written permission to reproduce must be obtained in advance).