It's National Poetry Day today and I thought I'd acknowledge it, not by posting a poem about love or autumn or war but by a poem about the (modern) beautiful game.
To win a game is by Ivan Donn Carswell, a poet who, in his own words, writes for fun.
How do you win a football game? Not by skill alone or clever plays,
in modern days the game has changed and subterfuge and actors
ways will pave the path to glory. Fitness pays a fair reward to keep
a fleetness in the feet, a clearness in the head, and special food
and clever drinks recharge the cells when batteries are low or dead.
But referees are certain keys to all the famous victories.
Linguistic tricks of lunatics in soccer strip are even matched by
hieroglyphs from coaches dressed in two piece suits, with
hearts on sleeves, grieving for the chances missed, pleading
with the referee for plays he did or didn’t see, for ploys that failed
to turn his head, for verdicts made and judgements dread.
And referees are equal keys to infamy or certain fame.
Then there’s the crowd, a seething throng of attitude and energy,
baying for their chosen team, living in a plastic dream of cinematic
death or glory; dressed in kind and cheering on, drinking, singing,
chanting long and loud the songs expressing hopes and fears of masses
pressed in servitude, praying for a famous win, praying to the soccer rood.
But referees are willing keys to all the prayers and eulogies.
How do you win? Why do you care? Theatrics grimace everywhere,
a game so crafted for the stage with pathos, bathos, great despair,
actors playing parts and reading scripts with human traits, protagonists,
antagonists, depicting gallant characters with artful flair,
it’s all encompassed there, entwined in referee maturity, so grin
and bear it friend, you see, it looks so good on home TV.