Once we played on a cinder pitch,
a lava flow field with bubble cavities
on a flattened out Mount St. Helens
of ashes and agglomerates.
Which flow event formed the fine ash
from fire fountain magma clots
for Manchester YMCA and Motspur Park?
How did the ball fall on skin corroding
all-weather ancient dust?
Tell me the calculations you make these days
for a rondo on the Mondo, circles of tiki taka
for former disciples of Norman Hunter,
now billowing Cabbage Whites
with no fear of emergency skin grafts
or a visit to the clinic in Stratfield Turgis
to assess far gone or dubious tissue,
irrigate wounds and prevent a biofilm.
Now we live with skin integrity
even when clouds form a carbon duvet
over Bisham Abbey and dodgy tackles
in dank air send you down in instalments
to a geotextile membrane on aggregate pipe bedding
under rubber crumbed long-pile synthetic grass
more forgiving than black ash and blazing cinder,
scoria data from grain flow and slope failure
up through a vent from the Earth’s centre.