Those of us of a certain age

will remember the penny amusement machines

as they caught the blowsy light off the sea

with their feet on bare boards

on piers from Worthing to Caister and how


we raked through pockets weighed down by copper

with gambling intentions that felt good and proper

early adrenaline supercharged

preparing to use our Britannia discs

taking what seemed such worthwhile risks. 


One specific machine I recall

had a curving spiral that spun a ball

released by a lever pulled back by the hand

designed with cunning to cause a flop

as the ball went astray all over the shop


it danced on springs across the divide

with the slimmest chance of causing a fall

of coins in the tray to take away.

My brother worked out a method to win

just the right pressure and the ball went in.


Sixty years later I saw one for sale

the price of it causing my face to pale

the sort of thing that popstars buy

to put in their hallways to amuse the band

to remind them how fickle is the fate of the hand. 




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Fri 20th Oct 2017 00:07

My pleasure Philip - precious times that conjure up misspent? youth. Cheers. I'm old enough to remember pre decimal coinage.


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Philip Stevens

Thu 19th Oct 2017 22:25

I remember penny arcades just memories now which you've brought back with your words ... your a man at the top of his odes Ray..

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Thu 19th Oct 2017 22:22

HI Mark. I remember the little brown bags with the perforated tops, all very serious kit. Thanks for commenting.

Very nice Tony that you enjoyed this; it wasn't designed to be serious, obviously but then it's nice to flex the memory muscles no and again. The idea of the hand just came to me. It's what drives the hand that makes the millionaires.

That photograph has such a memorable look to it , a sort of deep blankness for me. Thanks a lot.

Thanks Kevin. Britannia was always on the back of the old pennies , a reminder of the Empire. Useful also for putting on railway lines!

Thanks for the like Col. Hope you are well, mate. Thanks too Philip!


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kJ Walker

Thu 19th Oct 2017 20:16

I've never heard of pennies being referred to as Britannia discs.
I enjoyed this nice bit of nostalgia

Tony Hill

Thu 19th Oct 2017 09:44

I really like this poem, Ray, and especially the final verse. Let me add belatedly how much I enjoyed the Larkin poem. I know the photograph the poem is about. Tony

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M.C. Newberry

Thu 19th Oct 2017 03:02

I still have some bank issue small bags full of the old one penny coins - instant reminders of so many long lost
machines in amusement arcades and on station platforms.
These lines bring back those days - as does the update
of "sixty years" on.

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