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Twenty four feet square, not that much
To cover for one mere mortal – spring,
Leap, dive, smother, block. Narrow the
Angle for onrushing wingers. Pluck it
Out of the air to foil burly fowards. A
Hero, a presence in green. Directing the
Backs – his area, his ball. Sure hands in
Gloves or bare. And as the penalty kick
Hits, he guesses right most times. Pushed
Round the post to safety. No timid loner,
This man alone, on whom it can all fall.
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Kicking from hands, kicking from ground;
Every limb a means of making sure his net
Stays intact. Pointing, on his toes cross the
Line. Sweating, swearing. Slithering, hits
Hard – when he wants to make his point.
Capped, the sun glaring long in his face on
Autumn days. Kit bag slumped on the ground
Behind – a marker of defiance. Boys idolise
Him. Team mates praise him, then curse him.
A goal against is personal, a question mark
Over his ability. ‘1’ on his back; solo, special.