Football’s Second Nature

The day England played Portugal,
My daughter, Charlotte, left for Geneva,
And that dawn, I watched a skein of ducks
Silhouette the widening, reddening sky,
While I stood staring, thinking of her in her ‘plane,
While I stood staring, stuck in my suburban back garden.
But I love my Stroud suburbs, all that Edwardian red brick,
The church glebe allotments and the open day front gardens,
The dusty nettles in the cracked mortar of the front walls,
The couch grass in the alley on the way down to the newsagents,
The sign saying “Your local shop”, (What else could it be?),
The meadow and the common just up the steep hillside,
The old orchard just below the allotment plots,
The woodpecker flitting through the trees,
The branches cut down whilst still in blossom,
The 21st century scene of John Clare melancholy,
The kingfisher on the river, the heron on the canal,
The news of Swindon Town F.C.,
Failing in its bid to build a new stadium
On the site of an old rubbish tip,
Newly reclaimed land, planted with thousands of trees,
A new deciduous home to deer and fox and badger and otter,
And regenerated woodland flora that thought its time had gone,
A community forest with trees dedicated to departed loved ones.
Thank Goodness that this ecological delight
Has escaped the monoculture of a football pitch,
And all that hot air of cars and managers and coaches,
A reclaimed rubbish tip saved for the community,
A home for diverse evolution and experiment,
The invalidation of my wife’s claim that
“I’ve tidied this shed loads of times
But whenever I come back it’s just the same.
When are you going to chuck out those old football programmes?”

Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/2004/07/25/footballs-second-nature/