John Milton and Football

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 How many people today remember The Clarion?
How many people recall that 19th. Century socialist paper?
And how many people remember its associated cycling clubs,
The clubs which took working class men and women
Out into the country and out from our industrial towns and cities,
And out to places like the Forest of Dean?
And how many people know that this ancient woodland
Was enclosed by King Charles the First,
So that his courtiers could mine and manufacture
Under a money-grabbing monopoly?
And how many people know that the locals’ riots and protests
Were of such a tumultuous nature
That John Milton felt compelled to include reference
To the actions of the mob in both Comus and Paradise Lost?
The foresters’ resistance led to the Earl of Northampton’s claim
That “They were no better than Robin Hoods!”
No wonder, then, that village football matches were used as a ruse,
To gather large bodies of people together,
To beat the bounds
And tear down enclosing fences and hedges;
This is the radical free born Robin Hood heritage
Of The Peoples’ Game of Football,
Football on land held in common,
Where Diggers and Levellers
Turn The World Upside Down,
And follow Miltonic injunctions,
(That’s John, not Arthur,
The old Bristol City footballer
And Gloucestershire and England opener)
To keep your eyes on truth,
And ignore the blinding light of lucre and Lucifer
Falling from their Paradise in the Sky,
For we can regain Paradise Lost,
By kicking a ball for free,
In the park or on the common,
Whenever you want to.
Saint Monday.
Lincoln Green.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/john-milton-and-football/