He read it in the Tea Leaves: England 4 Germany 2

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Sunlight smoked through the leaves of the sycamore trees,
Their tall trunks overhanging the railway cutting,
Dads dug spuds from their allotments,
Purple geraniums lit up the parish churchyard,
And a poppy post-card field set the hillside on fire;
It was a perfect suburban small town Sunday,
An unhurried early morning stillness,
Church bells, few cars, no mowers or strimmers astir as yet,
Just an occasional high propeller aeroplane,
Just like “the day when war broke out”.
I sat on the doorstep and read about F.W. Harvey,
Friend of Ivor Gurney and working men and women,
Soldier poet and Gloucestershire Lad,
Brave in trench battle and quick with his pen,
Who formed, before The Great War’s harvest of death,
The Minsterworth village football team,
In a typical mix of paternalist collectivism;
He, the public schoolboy and the only one with kit,
The rest in pullovers, odd shirts, shorts and working boots,
Travelling to a nearby village in horse and cart,
Harvey at the reins.
They lost 5 – 1, but who cares?
He stood them high tea in the Red Lion,
In those seeming innocent rural days before The Great War,
Just like my seeming innocent days in the summer of ’66,
When we ran out of money and had no fags for the Match.
So I told my mates of my dad’s jungle Chindit trick,
Smoking fags made out of tea leaves and bog roll,
And things were that desperate,
What with nerves and all,
That my mates thought it a good idea;
The fags were a fiasco,
We nearly set the back lawn alight,
And the pear tree on fire,
But you look on the bright side when you singe your eye brows,
And even though we burnt our noses in the flames,
Mickey Hamm said that at least it got rid of the smell of my old dog Chum,
But my dad said if it wasn’t for the tea leaves then we wouldn’t have won;
We didn’t know what he was on about,
Was it World War 2 or the football?
So we sang, in derision, “I heard it through the Grapevine”,
My dad sang back, with concision, “I read it in the tea leaves”;
We stared forlorn at the burnt Typhoo – Hornimans mix,
And the charred fragments of Delsey and Sellotape,
And had one last hope,
Extra time:
We watched as dad took a last fag from his packet of Senior Service ,
And hoped he might give us a drag,
Especially if we stared at him all the way through the tab;
He smoked slowly and he smoked the lot
And then stubbed it out in the ash tray.
He whistled “Fings aint wot they used to be”
And walked out into the kitchen;
We thought it was all over,
It was now.


True story folks! Stirred by an E mail from Australia from my old school mate Mickey Hamm. We haven’t seen each other for 30 years – but Mike reminded me of this tale – it takes on some significance with the passage of time.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/he-read-it-in-the-tea-leaves-england-4-germany-2/