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Poems tagged ‘Brimscombe & Thrupp AFC’

When Saturday Comes To Brimscombe

That autumnal expedition to Brimscombe
Seems all a bit too good to be true:
Cycling past that spring alongside Bagpath,
Where an old Rodborough resident
Once slaked his thirst descending to Brimscombe,
Where he played football on a Saturday,
And where he slaked his thirst again,
When ascending at the end of the match
(A response to a letter of mine
in the local press earlier this century
about an oral history project
on the genius loci of Stroud and the valleys: springs).

And when you cycle to Brimscombe & Thrupp AFC,
You can take your bike in through the turnstile,
Or does the bike choose to go in its self
In the manner of Flann O’Brien’s
The Third Policeman?

You then chat to people you’ve never met before,
As though you had been friends for life …
The thirty or so grows to a hundred,
And the referee blows the whistle.

I spend much of the first half with eyes closed,
Listening to the shouts of the players,
And the raised voices of some spectators,
Then drift away into a dreamscape,
Lined by autumnal trees, trains and canal:
I come to when the first goal is scored.

Spectators wander, clutching pints of beer
(‘Cheaper than Stroud Brewery, mate’);
I choose instead a warming cup of tea,
And a cheese and onion bap: £2 total,
(No cost-of-living crisis here),
Served with a smile from a small table.

My mates arrive after the half-time break,
And we all sit along the half-way line,
And it’s like The Last of the Summer Wine,
With the sun declining in the west:
‘When was your first Man City game then, Jes?’
‘1959-60. Burnden Park. Bolton.
Nat Lofthouse – the Lion of Vienna.
Can’t remember the score though.’

I watched the trains roll by on the main line,
As Jes talked of his childhood football heroes,
Remembering the black and white photographs
Of the steam trains trundling past Bolton’s ground,
As we sit there like LS Lowry figures
Until the final whistle blows.

We watch the scores come in at the clubhouse
(Swindon win at Mansfield 5-2!),
And say what a great afternoon that was,
And we all agree in unison,
That we can’t wait, just like children,
Until Saturday Comes Again.

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Source: https://footballpoets.org/news/poem-tags/brimscombe-thrupp-afc/