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Global Warming: Is it Winter or is it Spring?

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Is it winter or is it spring?
Late winter, early spring,
Time seems all mixed up these days, doesn’t it?
Whether it’s vernal hibernation,
Or a precocious aestivation,
There doesn’t seem to be a winter these days, does there?
The trees might be bare, but the sun gleams down
On the sloping hillside football match,
Shouts of “Man on” and “Oh, come on ref”
Drifting with the wind and over the cows,
And over the valley to me
In the garden of my red brick semi,
Chopping wood in the snowdrops and narcissi,
On the anniversary of Munich,
And a decade to the day since my dad’s death –
A magazine lies open on the table,
Pages flapping in the northerly wind,
Telling how Duncan Edwards’ father,
Disconsolate in his loss and his grief,
Had made what is now called a career change,
And had become the sexton at Dudley Church,
So that he could be that much closer to his son:
An almost Dickensian narrative of football.
All this after Holocaust Memorial Day,
When the same newspaper recounted tales
Of Channel Island collaboration
Sending Jews to their gas chamber death:
British secrets released from their graves
Fingering the guilty and deceivers.
But that winter has gone and that same day,
Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman
Writes to me, with his football memories,
Which I take walking in the Brecon Beacons,
To a parish of just 25 souls,
Ambling all day and not seeing a sinner,
Visiting a ghostly unstaffed book-shop,
Fly blown windows, dusty shelves, floor to ceiling,
With an unprominent Honesty Box,
“50p for paperbacks, pound for hard”,
An old Charles Buchan Football Monthly
On the table, John Charles on the cover,
His life ebbing away even as I looked;
Getting home for tea and teletext,
Lighting old range fires smug and snug
With a 4-2 win away at Stockport,
Feeling very good about being fourth,
Meeting an old lady in the quiet lane,
Just as a farm yard tractor rolled on by,
“Nothing but noise today”, she said.
Digging mum’s garden in a stiff northern wind,
And able to tell a hawk from a handsaw,
Then opening the Advertiser,
Reading of the Victorian founder,
And his contempt for the squirearchy,
The final straw, the roasting of an ox,
And a merry game of winter football
On the frozen reservoir lake,
With meat as aristocratic footballs,
While poor old Hodge and his family watched on,
Stoically starving on the margins,
Just beyond their damp and draughty cottage;
Anyway, tea-time over, time to go –
I borrowed a picture of my father,
Spruce in his 1940 uniform,
And took it to the shop for copying,
“Is that you?” the shop assistant asked me,
Picking up the sepia photograph,
And strange as this may sound and also seem,
I wasn’t put out at all in the least,
He was a good-looking bloke, my dad,
And it’s sometimes pleasant when time and tide
Get all mixed up I think. Don’t you agree?
Is it late winter or an early spring?

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/global-warming-is-it-winter-or-is-it-spring/