The Knots in the Lace

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 The Knots in the Lace

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 The cupboards have been emptied and the shelves are standing bare,
Except for the faded cardboard box…
And I remember when he placed it there.
With quiet hands I reach for it and slowly bring it down
And place it on the old oak chest.
A cardboard box on an oaken chest
Two shades of brown on brown.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 A linen cloth, a gentle wipe to clear the dust of the years gone past.
His words were quiet when he placed the box,
“Keep it safe” was all he asked.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 My quiet hands now silently remove the faded lid
To reveal the faded leather
Scuffed and scarred, solid and seasoned by contrary weather.
His football boots now preserved in their faded cardboard box forever.
Not his first pair, but his last-
Memories of games from forty years long past.
I watched him after that final game when he rubbed them dry
And laid them down
and his life to follow was never quite the same.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 The studs are rough against my hands
And I hear the cheering from the stands.
I feel that leather so old and weathered
And remember well the joy and the pleasure that filled our lives
Because he played the game
and now it will never be the same.
One boot is laced, the eyelets carefully threaded,
The other has no lace,
There is nothing in the place where it should be.
And then I see it on the side with seven knots securely tied
and a small white card lying close beside.
His words explained the knotted lace-
One knot for each of five clubs in his life,
One knot for me, his loving wife,
One knot for his only son
on whose arrival he said
his playing days were done.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 He left this world seven months ago
And on the day that he died the eighth knot was tied. By me…

7 Leave a comment on verse 7 0 Ianthe Exall
November 2013


My husband Francis Exall died in May this year and I am left with good memories of all those years. He played for Durban Ramblers as a kid, Addington, Fulham Juniors, Durban United and finally Maritzburg United- five of the knots in the lace.

Editor’s note:

So moving and beautiful, thank you Ianthe, for sharing.


The ‘other Editor’ note!
Really touching and emotive Ianthe. Watching your husband play at that level and in front of those crowd back then, must have been incredible. Was it nerve-racking and was it hard to watch?.No TV back then of course . Did they ever film games for the cinema? There must be footage somewhere? More please.

And you thought the football Francis played was something to be put away in a box .Wrong ! It plays on and is kept safe … in your poems. We love memories.. More please ! Crispin

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-knots-in-the-lace/