A trophy haul to rival Ferguson’s,
but new seasons don’t feel so new any more.
An imaginary game in the village of Solva,
a training camp in the Austrian Alps,
immaculate pitches, mountains
and thunderclouds. A refurbished Meadow Park.
A dwindling summer, birds leaving these isles,
longer shadows in the parks at dusk.
Careful writing to prepare for the term
and reflect on a too-early start
to the football season column of wins
and losses, out-of-context judgements
from inspectors with no categories for castles
filling a classroom or shields fluttering
in rows from the ceiling. How many steps
beyond outstanding would you have to stretch the grid
to contend with Mr Wickens’
defences against ignorance, optimism planted
and hope inspired: the sense of a place
in the world he would help you to occupy.