Football Curriculum

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 When I was in high school all those years ago
In English I was taught Keats’ “Ode To A Grecian Urn”
And whilst I loved this bright star’s resilient rebellion
Not one single word other than those in the title did I retain
But Rushie’s goals the style technique I’d practice practice
Practice until just one toe poke poacher’s goal I’d mastered
The tireless heart of Razor Kennedy his crosses I’d read
Each collective noun bursting with football life for me…

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 In English the subject I loved most whose language was rich with
Lennon’s sarky verbs and Lydon’s snarling adjectives these were the
Words that spoke loudest to me not those of Jane Austin’s
Pride and Prejudice and Jane I was told was a genius but not compared to the
Genie Dalglish who could trap a ball and then cajole by pure instinct alone
Now that was artistry for me and Kenny’s boots not Austin’s prose
Who thrilled my willing soul and taught me sense and sensibility

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 In English our teacher was alright, you could talk to him and in spaces
Between classes we’d moot the dark energy of Jim Morrison, the exploding
Freedom of Hendrix, the electricity of Dylan (Thomas) and I would ask
“Sir, why can’t we read about what we want to learn,
The way Steve Heighway twists and turns, Bob Paisley’s post match clipped adverbs?”
But our teacher would smile and shake his head and point the way to the
Poems of Post-Modern Poets ensconced in faber forward penguin idolatry
Yet the canon of football with its thunderous boots spoke, aye, more eloquently

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 I was a child of Liverpool, Football and Punk Rock & Roll
Maggie Thatcher’s endless desperate lines of dole and our teacher
Would smile and shake his head and lead us on to exam regulatory
“You have to read what the (now defunct) JMB Decrees”
But me (the bored) thought “Not for me” and jumped school as
Quickly as the door allowed and left those “Essential reading” books in
A forgotten corner of an unused sold-off playground…
With Liverpool Fc programmes stored lovingly
Those Bootroom proverbs and poems my philosophy
With a nod to Bowie, I can’t change time, but it won’t change me.


Ironic that much later in life I became an English teacher, but writing for those old fanzines in the 80s was as good as getting a book deal with one of the main poetry publishers.

National Poetry Day is 4th October – and the theme is CHANGE – find out more https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/about-npd/

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/football-curriculum/