The Beautiful Game (The Lads’ Poetry Project 2 )

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It’s Open Link night over at dVerse, so I thought I would link this post from a few days ago, mainly because the subject matter of the poem – sport and the level of discourse associated with it – is somewhat neglected in the world of poetry. When you read the poem you may conclude that that is actually a good thing.

The Beautiful Game

Me and the lads are warming up
for our Sunday morning kickabout,
the weather’s not so good:
a black cloud loiters over head
spitting occasionally;
there’s a chill in the air.
Not that we care.
We are here for that moment of magic:
those three short passes
that raise life above the ordinary.
It’s all going well.
We’re stretching, squatting
sprinting, jogging, popping
Esther and Abi*
when up steps Paul
all sanctimonious-like
and starts to rattle on
about how this is a family park
and we should watch our language
and surely we can play a game of football
without accusing each other of onanism.
The lads are confused, gobsmacked even.
My face adopts an expression
which would later be described as quizzical
Onanism, I inquire,
what on earth is that wanker talking about?


*Esther and Abi (Ofarim): rhyming slang for ibuprofen, a popular anti-inflammatory. Esther and Abi Ofarim, an Israeli singing duo, had a hit with “Cinderella Rockefella” in 1968.

30 thoughts on “The Beautiful Game (The Lads’ Poetry Project 2 )

  1. Steve Simpson

    Very much enjoying the Renaissance Lads, Jim. I was discussing Medieval religious art last Sunday, and learned that some of them tried to break out of the mold. I forget who, as usual, but one artist who was offered a commission said (paraphrasing) “Oh no, not freaking hell again, everyone wants paintings of hell.”

    PS I’m jealous. With my daughter, I console myself biblically: not being accepted in one’s own land etc.


    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks Steve, yep medieval religious art can get a tad boring. Modern art is more my thing. There’s one more Lads poem waiting, then I think that might be enough! Don’t worry, your daughter will soon recognise your genius!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kim881

    You’ve reminded me of my dad, Jim, who was a referee and also trained a local team for years. When I was younger, sometimes I’d go with him, join in the warm-ups and learn a few choice words – especially when there were black clouds and the occasional spit of rain! The final lines made me chuckle.


  3. Lona Gynt

    ok, I am going to replicate Bjorn’s comment with a careful switch of words and see what follows… here goes…
    “That last line made me grin… not a huge onanism fan myself, though I would prefer the playing to the watching… I agree, it’s not a popular topic, but not unheard of.;..”

    ok, enough of that, This poem was sooo funny, pitch perfect Jim.


      1. Lona Gynt

        My son and my daughter are both avid soccer (as we call it here) players, it is an extraordinary game, and I have so much enjoyed seeing life raised above ordinary when they play. My son is a defender, I will always remember the time in 8th grade when he had a sharp tackle and requisition and as he dribbled off I heard him tell his opponent wryly to “just stay down.” My daughter May be one of the best keepers in our region, short and demure, but in the box she regards every encroachment into her temple as an affront to cosmic justice and her own personal integrity, it is so much fun. You set the stage, again pitch perfect. I am a swimmer and hiker, more solitary, but I love the sublimated war of the beautiful game.


  4. memadtwo

    When you play, you are in your own self-contained world…and why should anyone want to break the spell?
    I don’t know about soccer, but baseball has inspired a number of poems, especially haiku. I’ve written some myself. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. navasolanature

    Perhaps we do need more of the beautiful game as you express the fun, humour and conflicts that can happen when playing in the park. It builds up well and I like the use of short lines.
    Am surrounded by soccer affionados here in Spain and when I visit my granddaughter in Manchester. True Man United fans as born in the city!

    Liked by 1 person


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