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Idol

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Not much rain that month they say
May of nineteen forty six;
the ache of war, still in the bones,
where Cregagh boys kicked tries
down at Malone and dodged the sixes
from the next-door cricket pitch.
Wednesday the twenty-second
an ordinary Belfast day,
but some alignment of the spheres,
some sorcery, conspiracy of Gods,
some fate; a child was born
a boy, blue eyed, dark haired
different from the rest,
and soon this world would come to worship,
to call him great, “the one”, the best.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 A slight kid, “too small, too light” they said,
to kick a ball for our Glentoran,
as they watched him claim the greens round Burren Way.
But a Bishop’s wise eyes
watched, and saw the spark of a messiah,
a message arrowed down the wires to rainy Manchester:
“I think I’ve found you a genius.”
Your fate was sealed that day.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 At just fifteen uprooted from the green of Ireland
Busby’s newest babe.
In red they led you down the Warwick Road,
where Munich’s ghosts still strode and whispered in the stands. Perhaps they never knew back then,
of magic in your feet, the future held in those two hands.
Two years you waited,
training every day,
and scrubbing the muddy boots of legendary men;
until at seventeen
your dream came true named on the sheet,
a number on a shirt,
they let you out
to play.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 How did it feel, that walk out of the darkness,
trembling in that deafening wall of sound?
A wide-eyed kid, still damp behind the ears,
let loose to run with giants;
the chance to walk on hallowed ground?
Did you see that day, the world waiting at your feet?
That every ragged kid on every street
would take your name?
The shimmy through the papers, from the back page
to the front – a beautiful face
for the beautiful game.
Did you start to feel that devil’s trident pricking at your heart,
the flashbulb lightning storm of words, the demons,
slowly picking you apart?
Yet in those golden scarlet years,
was no other God but you,
no other game, no other team.
And from the Streford End the faithful sang your name,
while you played out
their every dream.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 The clubs, the clothes, the cars, the girls,
the champagne-comet trail you blazed.
While we just watched;
glazed-eyed in the glory of of a supernova superstar.
“Those were the days”, your days, and ours.
Your face upon a million walls,
while your feet danced through defences like Irish mist,
to tunes no one else could hear.
Each passing year we polish up the memories;
The big men cried the day they laid to your rest.
For their brilliant, blue-eyed Belfast boy,
their youth,
their dreams,
their Best.

15

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/idol/