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Poems tagged ‘London’

Football grounds

There was a time at White Hart Lane
When those who thought they’d endured enough pain
But then came the Double
Which quelled the trouble
Back in yesterday’s when
They gathered in force again

Rival in survival
With North London foes
Then stepped on toes
Of Arsenal across the road
That less than amiable abode
Then Highbury yearned for
Trophies and titles galore
Without resorting to the goal-less bore

Marbled halls and historic  clocks,
Perfectly suited to stylish socks
Mud caked boots
And elegant suits Gooners once and all
Classic exponents with medicine ball
Then Wenger stood Imperious and tall
At Stamford Bridge where Chelsea remain perched
On the ridge of more
Cups and trophies not another set of selfies
But you remember the sand and mud
Of yesteryear’s thud and crunch
That motley bunch
Chopper Harris, Cooke, Wilkins
Osgood and Hutchinson
In charge of their manor
When the mood of the banner
Was Blue is the colour
We once again discover
Chelsea remain the same name
Never plain just vigorous glorious, aflame

So finally West Ham never a sham
Upton Park, a cathedral of good
Across the babbling brook next to the wood
Down country lanes Where hope never wanes
Upton Park, that East End Fringe theatre
Where everything seemed  much better
When the Chicken Run was so much fun
And we were taught
The rudiments of football’s
Innocent age the game became
Beige but then changed
Upton Park would never become
Dark, for the lights
Shone on claret and blue,
Teasing, then the bubbles flew
Among soaring rooftops
Over commerce and shops
Where the East End display
Their splendid array
From football’s tastiest menu
And then when we all said see you
In 2016 when the old
Had broken the mould
What taste, what a waste
The old ground we seemed to leave
With too much haste
Our soul may have hankered. For yet another tankard

But Upton Park
Simply said, never
In a million years
When the Boleyn was
In tears of joy and elation
Near East Ham Station

So London’s grounds
Across hills and mounds
Where you can still hear
The distant sounds  of shuffling men,
Who from the old Den
From the daily grind
Never a bind
Loyal to the cause,
Grounds where Eagles
Once we treasured
Rapturous applause
Without pause

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Happened Kinda Fast…

Peeling spuds, washing glasses
Using knives n forks, serviettes an plates
Instead of…greasy mitts in a chicken box,
Blue shirt proclaiming; “Gian-Franco Zola. God”!
Quaffing Stella by the telly with his mates.

Then…this blinding bird moved in
Inspired an immediate change in him
Why he even…pressed the suit he wore for work?
Away games and the mighty craic?
She put a bleeding stop to all o that
He was down the gym, most Saturdays with her.

Caught an inkling things weren’t right
When instead of poker Friday nights
He’d be home indoors preparing her risotto
Right, that’s like a glutinous boiled rice?
Reminded us of a blinding night
We watched a classic out in Munich (with a ruby) we’d forgotten?

Things went from very bad to worse
Heard he visited our local church
Talking to a priest bout getting hitched
Even went round to meet her folks
A rumour spread was he’d proposed
Made us hastily check that seasons fixture list.

Then…the nuptials front went quite
He turned up at poker, Friday night
Asking us enthused about the team?
“Read The Evening Standard, don’t yer mate?”,
“Nah haven’t done of late
Too involved with parquet floors it seems?

But I’m glad all that’s over now
When are we away to Huddersfield Town?”
He asked with a cheeky smile, checking his cards
Well. What a Friday night we had that day
Seemed like he’d never been away
We totally had a blast, partying hard.

Anyways a week or two went by
Instead of sleeping dogs being let lie
We asked (like nosy gits) what caused the split?
Well. His face went crimson red
Bit of trouble catching breath
Then with vitriol spat it out, and this it….

“She was gorgeous, really cute
Even showed me how to press me suit
Problem came when I asked her dad could I wed his daughter?
Said I could on a condition bordering on bleeding farcical
He expected me at The Emptiness, cheering on The Arsenal*
I ain’t jumping ship – says I – for no team from “Over The Water”?

Well. He cracked a jeroboam of shampoo
Clinking crystal flutes we knew
Our mate had sorted his relationship conundrum:
See. A bloke may Love a beautiful bird whom he adores
But he’d have always held a torch – in his heart – for a paramour
Along The Fulham Road, in South West London!

Peace.

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Stand In.

Captain hollered, “Kev!
Fella’s hurted his leg*
Need you to take his place, and go in goal”?

Pulling on the goalies top,
A hurried sign of the cross
I ran out with the chaps to face our foe.

Battered, bruised, we sweated blood
On a field of energy sapping mud
Battling hard to fight the fight as one
Bouts of fisticuffs tis true
Desperate tactics rarely used
One man down, in fear of being over-run?

Sly kicks at a fella’s shin
A crafty head-butt to the chin
Retribution for their crocking our poor goalie
Eventually evening that score
One or two let out a roar
To a knelt knee in a place considered holy?

You could say the game was fraught
With the fracas being fought
Well at odds with sportsmanship and fair play?
Your man on the touch-line crying
Our chance of victory subsiding
Spurred mere kids to gladiators primed to fray.

Times your enemy, dog tired
Every shot at me they fired
Seemed to knock me down, hit the woodwork, or plain miss
A couple I managed to save on purpose
Left me winded, bruised and curious…
Enough to scold myself, I didn’t… bleating volunteer for this?

The long and short of it…a draw
and the ear shattering furore,
At the whistle, a moment rare amongst our lot
Sinking exhausted to the soil,
Bruised brown from our toil
To overcome the odds, dishing out as we had got.

There weren’t no winners, cups, a medal
Climbing high upon a pedestal
Acknowledging a wonderful victory or ones dream
Despite being dropped in the excrement together
We made light of heavy weather
Clichés, yet apt in summing up…our team.

A Clapham Common bus-stop
On a morning ne’er to be forgot
I lit a thrupenny loose, and puffed contentedly away
At what? Maybe nine-ten years of age?
I came to realize that day, gazing on the Elysian (LCC) fields of play…*
If your keepers crocked, let some other stupid eejit take his place.

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Source: https://footballpoets.org/news/poem-tags/london/