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).