Poetry Friday: Off to the Fair

With my mother and sister before I marched in the parade for the first time.

Every August, my town is transformed by the Bridgewater Country Fair. Sponsored by the volunteer fire department, this annual event was one of the highlights of my childhood. The fair was a magical place with a merry-go-round and Ferris wheel, farm animals, flowers, and vegetables. All summer, I looked forward to eating all the food I could only get at the fair.

The fair where Wilbur and Charlotte have their final triumph has always reminded me of our fair. As a matter of fact, I think one of the reasons I loved Charlotte’s Web so much the first time I read it was because White’s description of the fair resonated so deeply with me. (I still love it, but for many other reasons.) I’ve often tried to write something about the Bridgewater Fair, but have never been happy with the results. So this year, inspired by Margaret, I decided to create a found poem using White’s own words. Drawn from chapters XVI, XVII, XVIII, and chapter XIX, this poem uses White’s language to capture my memories of the fair of my childhood.


“Off to the Fair”

The Fair only comes once a year.

Balloons aloft.

Clean straw,

new pigpen,

cattle barn,

sheep blatting,

first prize.

“Can I have some money?”

Have some fun on the midway:

Ferris wheel turning,

round and round in the sky.

Music of the merry-go-round,

steer a jet plane.

“Hold on tight!”

Spin a wheel, win a doll.

Many fine smells in the air:

Hamburgers frying,


candied apples,


Wonderful excitement!

Wonderful adventure!

~from the words of Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m “off to the fair!”

Thank you to Lisa at Steps and Staircases for hosting the Poetry Friday Round Up today. Be sure to head over and read more wonderful poetry!


10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Off to the Fair

  1. This is wonderful, and I love how you constructed your poem from snippets of CW. Thanks so much for sharing this! = )


  2. I just came from Amy L-V’s ‘fair’ poem-tis the time, isn’t it? I didn’t go, but my daughter just took the two girls (4 & 2) to our Denver fair-not quite as exciting, but the girls loved the animals. I too loved the only time I got to get cotton candy, some special pineapple ice cream, and corn dogs! What a lot of memories your poem gives us. Thanks for finding those special words, Catherine!


  3. Catherine, Thank you for this great found poem and the memories you shared. We love Charlotte’s Web, too! I relate to you, and Pastan, in feeling my words can’t compare to the greats–but our words matter, and have their own place. Thank you for your kind words left in my submit box. Glad you enjoyed the POETree.


    • Lisa, Oh, I love it when authors write about how their ideas are hatched and spun. I’ll be looking for this book, too. Have you read Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom? Her letters are full of wisdom about writing and life. Thanks so much for sharing this.


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