We are going to see a pantomime,
Peter Pan, at the Empire, Liverpool.
(She could choose to take one of two glove puppets –
Captain Hook or the Crocodile – so it
could enjoy the treat. She chose the crocodile).
We are going by train – past some fields,
the backs of many houses, through a cut
and then a tunnel under a river.
An odd story for a panto, effete
and no dame or an obvious clown
but she watches literally open-mouthed
whether from her own seat or, as she tires,
her mother’s lap. She is oblivious to
or, rather, transcends, the local celebs,
the Scouse jokes, the inevitable camp
and Merseyrail purring below us,
to enter a brave new world of a flying
boy and girl, a large and gentle dog,
Pirates, Indians, much singing, some dancing,
a fairy we can save by clapping,
the Captain with his eye patch and red coat
and her focussed Croc, tock, tick, tock, tick.
As the curtain falls, tearful, she asks,
‘Why has it stopped, why, why?’