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Hill 112 (It Started In The Garden)

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 It started in the garden.
He was barely one year old.
He’d stand and get a hand
to every ball his mother rolled.
His father taught him how to catch.
This new skill made them smile.
They knew he’d be a keeper for awhile.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 While other boys would mess about
you’d find him with a ball
out back of the cathedral
spinning shots against a wall,
diving, keeping spheres from
getting by on their return,
and by and by goalkeeping did he learn.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Hours and hours he’d do this.
He was quiet. Played alone.
He grew to six foot four
even before he’d fully grown,
and at the ground on Saturdays
each manager and scout
said he would play league football without doubtý.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 They signed him as a Shrimper
but, before he’d get a start,
ýthe seniors’ muddy boots
he’d have to clean to do his part.
Then, as the light grew dim
he’d take his place there on his line.
It was the spring of nineteen thirty-nine.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Tommy, you’re a keeper
Keep us safe.
Keep our sheet clean.
Just three defenders at the backý.
Large spaces in between.
But you’re the one
on whom we pin our hopes
back there alone.
Tommy, keep us safe
‘til we get home.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 When the war broke out
they made a call to all young men:
‘Come and serve your country,
Boys. Ideals to defend.’
Tommy told his manager
that he would have to go.
He’d ‘see him in a couple months or so’.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 ýTommy joined the infantry;
the 43rd Division
ýHe thought he’d play in Europe.
Dunkirk postponed that decision.
Tommy spent a few domestic
years of training hard.
Protecting Britain
with the Kent Home Guard.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 ýTommy, you’re a soldier.
Keep us safe.
Keep our sheet clean.
Attacking fronts are armed
and deeper than they’ve ever been.
You’re the one on whom
we pin our hopes
out here alone.
Tommy, keep us safe
’til we get home.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Tommy was a gentleman
but not so highly born
that colours of an officer
were his first colours worn.
Quickly rose ýhe through the ranks,
a Captain to becoýme.
Guide men to be parts greater than their sum.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 He served the home front bravely.
Tommy always understood:
The Axis up? The greatest cup
was Evil against Good.
His debut came in Normandy.
At Sword he crossed the beach,
and learned some things
no one can claim to teach.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Tommy, you’re a leader.
Keep us safe.
Keep our sheet clean.
These last few days we’ve
witnessed things most men have never seen.
The tides have stained the beach
with brothers’ blood in waves and foam.
Tommy, keep us safe
’til we get home.

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 ýBaron-Sur-Odon, Maltot,
Fontaine-Etoupefour.
Names these English men
had never heard
before the war.
ýOperation Jupiter:
Reclaim Hill One One Two.
Who’d live to tell the tale, none of them knewý.

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 Opposing souls had occupied
the hillcrest and a copse.
A small strategic piece of land
just like a six yard box.
And shells rained down like crosses
onto Tommy’s mený below.
ýOn his command
they’d leave their posts and go.

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 Off the line they raced
through thick smoke totally exposed,
That band of Yellow Devils
led by Tommy, and they closed
the space between those guns
for futures some would never see,
securing their grandchildren’s liberty.

15 Leave a comment on verse 15 0 With yards to go, the nearing combat
prompted a grenade.
‘Twas then those Wyverns saw the
best save ýever to be made.
All six foot five of Tommy
dove ýthrough mud ‘mid mortar rounds
to smother that grenade there on the ground.

16 Leave a comment on verse 16 0 So, everyý tenth July
with football in its summer break,
we look up to the sky
and say a prayer for Tommy’s sake,
for One One Two was taken
and the Allies would prevail.
With men like Tommy
They could hardly fail.

17 Leave a comment on verse 17 0 Tommy, you’re a hero.
Kept us safe.
Kept our sheet clean.
You have naught to fear,
O Tommy, fields of gold and green
await you where you’re headed now.
Son, go claim your reward.
You owned the goal.
Opponents never scored.

18 Leave a comment on verse 18 0 It started in the garden.
He was barely one year old.

3

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/hill-112-it-started-in-the-garden/