I wish I could build me a magic machine,
A magic machine that would last,
Till the octopus sings and the Orca grows wings,
And the lowly worm ceases to cast.
I’d fashion the walls out of wonder and trust,
The floors out of paper-maché,
The roof a fine crust out of fairytale dust
From the mines down at Lollypop Bay.

I’d nail it together with courage and hope
And adorn it with pillows of pleasure.
I’d add here and there a most favorite chair
And some journals of joy for good measure.
I’d gather the good times in barrels and bins,
Bright buckets of bliss overflowing,
With brilliant moonbeams bursting out at the seams
And a million stars coming and going.

I’d want it to radiate welcome and warmth
So I’d paint it both inside and out,
With the colors of love and a white turtle dove
Would coo-coo in each cabin throughout.
A gifted musician with talent to spare
Would play music to charm and delight,
And if visitors chose he would tickle their toes
Every evening till dawn’s early light.

I’d fill up the engines with jellybean soup
And they’d start in the wink of an eye.
If I ran out of soup I could use cantaloupe,
Leftover from Saturday’s pie.
We’d fly my machine to the far Milky Way
With a thrust from its magic propeller,
We’d up and abscond far beyond the beyond
To link up with the stars interstellar.

My vessel would journey to magical lands
With the northern lights lighting our way.
We’d search and explore every faraway shore
And we’d bask in each bountiful bay.
To be whisked far away to a nebulous land,
Maybe millions of miles past the moon.
To travel and seek till the end of next week
Then return yesterday afternoon.

For halfpenny worth we would circle the earth
By the skill of my fine engineer,
With all of us in it, in less than a minute
And yet it would seem like a year.
There’d be baskets of fruit and a real magic flute
And we’d laugh and we’d dance and we’d sing.
We’d eat caviar while a Spanish guitar
Put its notes to a wild Irish fling.

I hope that my magic machine will enchant
Every visitor searching for wonder.
Let it soar at the least from the west to the east,
From above all the way to Down Under.
That each will discover the joys to be had
When refusing to dwell on the tragic.
If we make up our mind, we may happily find
There is much in the world that is magic.

And so as I gather each pillar and pipe,
As I stockpile my memories of joy.
May I fill up my heart in advance of the start
With the family and friends I employ.
Let me paint you a picture… a voyage of hope,
On an ocean of aquamarine.
It won’t seem like a quirk cause my magic will work,
All aboard my most magic machine!



Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

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23 Responses

  1. jd

    Enjoyed, Norma, for it’s hopeful whimsey
    and music. It seems many talented people
    originate in England.

  2. Rohini Sunderam

    I loved every magical bit
    Your colours, your soup and your wit!

    Thank you that was a delightful break

  3. Lawrence Fray

    A lovely poem, well written and wittily rhymed. It brought a touch of ngic to my evening! Thank you, Norma.

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Norma, I can detect the tang of wonderful scouse humour in this delightful piece. This is an absolute joy to read. If you ever return, I’m sure the Liver Birds will welcome you from their lofty perch. From this side of the pond, thank you.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you Jeff (my fellow Liverpudlian), not sure if I spelled that correctly?

      • Jeff Eardley

        Norma, I am not Liverpudlian but grew up with the Beatles, Cilla, the Cavern, Gerry, Ferry ‘cross the Mersey and love the place. I agree with Cynthia that this should be a well-illustrated best-seller in the library of all fun-loving children. I would have loved to have heard Doddy reciting it. Best wishes again.

      • Norma Pain

        Hi again Jeff, I spent most of my childhood living on Penny Lane so the Beatles are a favorite group of mine of course. Thank you again for your kind comments.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    If you ever get that thing built, Norma, then please sign me up. Nice anapests! I noticed that some of your lines began with an anapest and some with an iamb. This is all right, because the rhythm doesn’t really suffer for it, and it’s not all that unusual to shorten the first (or last) foot of a matrical line.

    “… stars interstellar.” threw me off a bit. We have interstellar dust and void (vaccuum), but what are interstellar stars? And is there really such a thing as cantaloupe pie? Or did you mean that the melon was left out of the pie?

  6. Norma Pain

    Thank you for your comments C.B., and I will save you a ticket! I have to confess that I have never studied poetry and all of its forms/names, etc., so I have no idea what an anapest is or an iamb, I just know what sounds good to my ear. You are correct about ‘stars interstellar’. I didn’t look that up, so I will claim ‘poetic license’.

  7. Cynthia Erlandson

    This is really delightful! It reminded me of a cross between Edward Lear and Dr. Seuss. Seriously, you should look for an illustrator with whimsical style — this would make a marvelous children’s book! (Good children’s books are enjoyed just as much by adults!:) By the way, I just love soup/canteloupe as a rhyme!)

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your lovely compliments Cynthia. I will definitely spend some time looking into that idea.

    • Norma Pain

      Beautiful artwork and definitely whimsical. Thank you for this link Yael.

  8. David Watt

    Norma, your flight of fancy also reminded me of Edward Lear’s poetry.
    In particular, ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’ in their pea-green boat.
    I appreciate the great deal of descriptive detail that you packed for the journey.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you David for ‘flight of fancy’, which is what I was hoping to create. I have done a parody of ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’, that I may submit at some time in the future. So much fun to do.

  9. Julian D. Woodruff

    Ms Pain,
    This is an ear-catching piece of whimsy, with ardent (escapist?) wishing thrown in. Besides Lear, I’m reminded a bit of Ringo’s (?) lyric for “Octopus’s Garden.”
    As for its potential as a children’s publication, you should definitely submit it. The more lively poetry agents and editors see, the better the chances that their regrettable bias against poetry for children may be overcome.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comments Julian. As a child, I loved nursery rhymes even though, looking back on some of them now, they don’t seem to make much sense, but as children, it is the musical feel of them and the illustrations that delight us.

  10. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Norma, this fine poem romps along with rhyme, rhythm, and creative aplomb! It’s pure, grin-inducing joy… something we need a huge dose of now. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


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