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Holding On

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Nails bitten to the cuticle,
Heart pounding,
Hands pressed tightly together
As if in silent prayer.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Hunched forward,
Like old men twice our age.
On tenterhooks,
As the blue tide pours remorselessly forward.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 A corner from the right,
Twenty one players in the home team’s goalmouth.
Ball cleared,
Only to returned again with interest.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Another corner,
Valuable seconds crawl by
As the ball is placed in the quadrant.
The whistle blows.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 In slow motion
The ball arcs towards the penalty spot
To be met by the grizzled forehead
Of the opposition’s dangerman.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 Like a rocket the ball heads for the top corner;
A goal, surely?
No!
From out of nowhere the keeper dives to tip it over.

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Third corner in a minute.
Relief as this one is hacked away,
Punted aimlessly upfield
To where the centre forward ought to be.

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 Yet he’s nowhere to be seen.
Sacrificed, in fact, for experienced defender
To preserve the home team’s
Slender advantage.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 Fourth official holds up the dreaded board:
Four minutes!
Received with nervous laughter,
Bordering on the hysterical.

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 Forehead furrowed and clammy,
Palms glistening with sweat,
An urge to urinate,
But can’t possibly go yet.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Back to the action:
Ball sliced for a throw in.
The big men amble forward,
Prepared to flick on the exocet.

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 Ball headed clear.
Back in,
Blasted out, booted upfield
To raucous, ragged cheers of relief.

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 Three minutes remain.
No enjoyment now,
Just pure suffering.
Agony!

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 Free kick to the blue hordes,
Six men in the wall,
Hands guarding their prized assets,
Four others on the goal line.

15 Leave a comment on verse 15 0 Blocked bravely,
Rebound fired goalwards,
Against the upright.
Whacked away.

16 Leave a comment on verse 16 0 Two minutes left.
Yet another corner.
In a do or die attempt
The opposition keeper prowls the penalty area.

17 Leave a comment on verse 17 0 Corner swung in,
Headed straight up in the air.
A duel between the two keepers,
Ball fisted clear.

18 Leave a comment on verse 18 0 One minute!
The agony is unbearable.
Knuckles gnawed,
Dry, rasping throat.

19 Leave a comment on verse 19 0 Pleading with the ref,
Imploring him to blow his whistle.
He checks his watch once………twice,
Has it stopped?

20 Leave a comment on verse 20 0 Puffing his cheeks out, the whistle blows.
Enormous relief.
Punching the air in jubilation.
More agony next week?

6

Notes

I know what it’s like to suffer.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/holding-on/