The Brass Ring A Ballad of Love Purloined

“It’s a little brass ring.

What a quaint sort of thing!

What’s the story behind it?” you ask.

Though the hour is late

And it’s hard to relate,

I’ll embark on the arduous task.

‘Twas a late April day,

Perhaps early in May,

She and I on the boardwalk together.

The weather was fine

With warm spring sunshine.

Her hair bore the faint smell of heather.

My girl I long courted

And proudly escorted.

Of course we planned to be wed!

I hoped my left hand

Would wear her gold band,

But something else happened instead.

We heard the sound

Of the merry-go-round

Carried to us on the breeze.

“Let’s go!” my love cried.

Though I hated the ride,

Her whim I would gladly appease.

“Casey would waltz”

–My breathing now halts–

Was the song the carrousel played.

Oh summons from hell!

Love’s tragic death knell!

I wish at home she’d have stayed!

We began our mad dash

And arrived in a flash.

The infernal machine was before us.

With scarcely a care,

I paid Love’s death fare,

And cruel Fate asunder soon tore us.

She selected her horse—

A white one, of course.

Oh, would that she had stayed on!

“I danced with the girl

With the strawberry curl.

And the band played on.”

The gong two times rang

And with its loud clang,

The mute steeds resumed their proud course.

It was then that I spied him.

With suspicion I eyed him–

Sitting directly behind her own horse!

His looks were the kind

Most women would find

Quite comely–exceedingly fair.

His eyes of steel gray

Held under his sway

All those whom he pinned with his stare.

He sat on the back

Of his charger jet black.

His gaze was steady before him.

I knew very well,

Should she yield to his spell,

He could easily make her adore him.

The carrousel’s turning,

Despite my fond yearning,

Soon took them beyond my poor vision.

The next time around,

To my horror I found

She had turned toward him with decision.

His eyes had transfixed her.

I watched with a mixture

Of loathing and helpless despair.

What could I do

Regarding the two?

Oh, why had we come to the fair?

The carrousel’s turning,

Despite my heart’s burning,

Took the pair out of my ken.

Upon their return,

What then would I learn?

I dreaded to see them again!

When they next came in view,

It was then that I knew

That his hold on her was commanding.

My heart skipped a beat.

She had left her high seat,

And by his black horse she was standing.

Her sweet lips were moving

–He was clearly approving–

Though the music drowned out what she said.

For all the while,

With a sinister smile,

He sat still and nodded his head.

And I, overcome,

Was somehow struck dumb.

My cheeks streaked with tears grew quite hot.

All my limbs were like wood,

And helpless I stood,

My feet rooted fast to the spot.

My stomach was churning

As the carrousel’s turning

Took them both out of my sight.

When them next I did see,

I cried, “Ah!  Woe is me!

The end of all my delight!”

In a single swift motion

Of conspicuous devotion,

He caught at a shiny brass ring.

To the girl with wide eyes

He surrendered the prize

Just as the gong sounded DING.

Their ride was all done,

But not so their fun.

I wept at the sound of her laughter.

Little more there’s to say.

They hurried away,

And I tried my best to run after.

My brain was so loaded,

It nearly exploded.

My whole body shook with alarm.

Dismayed, I thus found

That I kept losing ground

As they ran on ahead arm in arm.

Her laughter grew bolder.

She tossed over her shoulder

The prize he had recently won.

It fell at my feet

As I stood in the street.

It gleamed in the light of the sun.

Further words would be vain.

It’s enough to explain

Why I find I can no longer sing.

I’m left wholly bereft,

With my heart in two cleft,

As I ponder a tarnished brass ring!