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From the shipyards of Gdansk, way down to Krakow in the south,
In lovely Lodz and Posnan and in Warsaw,
The news swept through the country, in the main through word of mouth,
Causing more delight than people foresaw.
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At first they were suspicious and would not believe their ears,
Phoning up the FAI for clarity,
But then they were united in their loud, unbridled cheers,
‘Twas years since they had shown such solidarity.
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They queued all night for tickets in the chilly eastern Spring,
Warmed by feverish anticipation.
Then they kissed their fiery spouses with a promise that they’d ring,
And gaily skipped down to the railway station.
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From north and south and east and west, the trains disgorged their troops,
Past buildings old and grimy and decaying,
Advancing on the stadium in hopeful, nervous groups,
Praying that the Legend would be playing.
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But when the whistle blew, the fans were very much uptight,
Their hero wasn’t in the starting line-up.
They kept glancing at the fourth official all throughout the night,
Willing him to put the bleeding sign up.
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Injury time approaching, and the flags were all unfurled,
Augmented by a symphony of voices,
As the Polish commentator shouted to the outside world,
“Listen how our happy state rejoices!”
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Four minutes to display his skills was all he was allowed,
Four minutes to enthrall the Polish masses,
But tears of joy were streaming from the people in the crowd,
Which buggered everybody wearing glasses.
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And then the match was over, and the crowd was on a high –
Such an understandable reaction –
And they travelled home in trainloads ‘neath the brooding Polish sky,
Thrilled at seeing Jason Byrne in action.