The Annexation of Branksome Chine

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Between Shore Road and Branksome Chine,
beneath the beach huts of Canford Cliffs,
is an international football pitch
with a ghost ship’s cargo from Shanklin

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Yellow posts, memories of Small Hope Beach,
Hawkins’ legacy; a high pass,
acrobatic weightlessness grounded
by a stationary charter to Tahiti

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Unfunded, in the national stadium
we gamble, peel away to the far post
on barely navigable contours of sand,
the odd chip- ‘Umbro wouldn’t sponsor this…’
philosophers on benches think in error

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 The old shed wall lines one side,
the sea another. Imagine in November
a rainbow flick, those shutters
on the ice cream shop, those elegance
occluding mists, hot squash, the sun
in striking season, samba rhythms
to the Harry Ramsden’s take out
for the Russian World Champion
reconaissance delegation
visiting the sea front,
booking out the beach huts



This ‘cliff’ poem (?) originated in a walk along the beach in which my 4 year old son and I over-extended ourselves as we walked from the edge of Poole Harbour to an ever-receding beach shop.

Luckily, we had taken a football with us and we came across a pitch on the beach which I later realised was the home of English beach soccer.

The story of the sport’s genesis in this country revolves around John Hawkins from the Isle of Wight, who for many years championed the sport in difficult circumstances, competing against nations who were properly funded by their national associations and achieving remarkable results in the process.

The World Champions are Russia, not Brazil (as many may have assumed). They receive massive financial backing but I can’t help thinking that they would be given more than a run for their money on the beaches of Dorset.

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-annexation-of-branksome-chine/