I’m including this one 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
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
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 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.