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The End of Illusion

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 So when I look back, what do I remember?

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 The regressive sense of anticipation,

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Being a boy again but with Christmas Eve in summer:

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Digging my plot and seeing red ants and slow worms –

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 The imagination goes on a journey,

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 With the heat and the dust, it’s just like Africa!

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 The 3 pigeons chewing on my winter greens become vultures,

8 Leave a comment on verse 8 0 The World Cup is here at last, Christmas in summer.

9 Leave a comment on verse 9 0 I walk the fields to the pub, grown men are clad in flag-wraps,

10 Leave a comment on verse 10 0 England go one nil up early doors, then it’s downhill all the way.

11 Leave a comment on verse 11 0 Trudging back from the Crown and Sceptre,

12 Leave a comment on verse 12 0 The echoes of youths playing footie in the twilight,

13 Leave a comment on verse 13 0 Swopping disappointments with strangers in the street:

14 Leave a comment on verse 14 0 “A draw’s not the end of the world”,

15 Leave a comment on verse 15 0 “They’d cane us if we played them at American Football”.

16 Leave a comment on verse 16 0 But the parish council notice board is still covered with red crosses,

17 Leave a comment on verse 17 0 The 2nd hand charity shops have their patriotic displays,

18 Leave a comment on verse 18 0 And even the catatonic Algeria game knocked us only sideways,

19 Leave a comment on verse 19 0 The Prince Albert’s fuzzy big screen hid the truth,

20 Leave a comment on verse 20 0 So I agreed with the rotund man in a red shirt

21 Leave a comment on verse 21 0 I met in town the next day, when he said

22 Leave a comment on verse 22 0 “You’ve got to keep the faith haven’t you?”

23 Leave a comment on verse 23 0 “But that Robert Green. I don’t know why they picked him.”

24 Leave a comment on verse 24 0 A few tense days later, the joy of Serbia,

25 Leave a comment on verse 25 0 A baking hot courtyard in the Vic’ in Stroud,

26 Leave a comment on verse 26 0 Men in red shirts bouncing up and down,

27 Leave a comment on verse 27 0 Then a small, mute message ,

28 Leave a comment on verse 28 0 Top right hand corner of the screen,

29 Leave a comment on verse 29 0 Just while we were celebrating – the USA had gone top:

30 Leave a comment on verse 30 0 Now it was the route of death;

31 Leave a comment on verse 31 0 Walking the dog past the Prince Albert,

32 Leave a comment on verse 32 0 Keith Allen sitting outside my local,

33 Leave a comment on verse 33 0 No Vindaloo now, just Germany.

34 Leave a comment on verse 34 0 Then going to London on the day of the game,

35 Leave a comment on verse 35 0 Conceding defeat the day before,

36 Leave a comment on verse 36 0 By buying 10p. England flags from Wilkinsons,

37 Leave a comment on verse 37 0 Stuffing those into my bag, together with my 1966 shirt,

38 Leave a comment on verse 38 0 Imagining swanning down the Thames in post-match triumph,

39 Leave a comment on verse 39 0 But listening to a Holocaust survivor in the afternoon,

40 Leave a comment on verse 40 0 Feeling guiltily embarrassed about asking for news of the game,

41 Leave a comment on verse 41 0 The texts seeming irrelevant in the context of Auschwitz;

42 Leave a comment on verse 42 0 Leaving the meeting at 4.30: Smithfield, funereal,

43 Leave a comment on verse 43 0 The pubs silent, despite the bunting,

44 Leave a comment on verse 44 0 Then walking along the canal at Paddington Basin,

45 Leave a comment on verse 45 0 No-one bothered about the result,

46 Leave a comment on verse 46 0 Just enjoying life in the sun,

47 Leave a comment on verse 47 0 Young men boating and idly blowing bubbles,

48 Leave a comment on verse 48 0 Conversations about the history of Westbourne and Paddington,

49 Leave a comment on verse 49 0 With Manuel, a Basque child rescued in 1938,

50 Leave a comment on verse 50 0 Friend of the International Brigade,

51 Leave a comment on verse 51 0 Chatting about Bill Alexander, Laurie Lee and the west country,

52 Leave a comment on verse 52 0 Then coming home on the train, past the White Horse,

53 Leave a comment on verse 53 0 The sun slanting down over the cornfields,

54 Leave a comment on verse 54 0 Going past Sapperton, where nearly 100 years ago,

55 Leave a comment on verse 55 0 My dad lived after World War One,

56 Leave a comment on verse 56 0 Their home an ex-army Nissan Hut,

57 Leave a comment on verse 57 0 And so back to Stroud,

58 Leave a comment on verse 58 0 Where the paella and footie up the Albert

59 Leave a comment on verse 59 0 Segued into paella and Glastonbury on the big screen,

60 Leave a comment on verse 60 0 And dancing in the street,

61 Leave a comment on verse 61 0 With no recriminations about the result,

62 Leave a comment on verse 62 0 Because, in the end, are they worth bothering about?

63 Leave a comment on verse 63 0 I’ve chucked the flags out and use the shirt for gardening –

64 Leave a comment on verse 64 0 It’s the end of the age of arrested development’s illusions:

65 Leave a comment on verse 65 0 Instead, let’s remember the slogans and advertisements,

66 Leave a comment on verse 66 0 “Celebrate Africa’s Humanity”,

67 Leave a comment on verse 67 0 “From Shantyland to Dignity”,

68 Leave a comment on verse 68 0 “A e wele mo metsing”,

69 Leave a comment on verse 69 0 “Let there be Peace”,

70 Leave a comment on verse 70 0 “One for All and All for One”,

71 Leave a comment on verse 71 0 “Playing for Pride and Glory”,

72 Leave a comment on verse 72 0 “Four Legends, One Label”,

73 Leave a comment on verse 73 0 “Three Lions, One Taylor”,

74 Leave a comment on verse 74 0 “Proud to be Different”.

75 Leave a comment on verse 75 0 Now, which ones embarrass you?

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-end-of-illusion/