The Soul of Forest Green

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 I went searching for the soul of Forest Green,
Wandering intuitively, ad hoc
Inferentially, without any
A priori knowledge or insight:
It was a tabula rasa wander.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 Northfields Road smacked of enclosed fields
(‘Its only bondage was the circling sky’),
And Eighteenth century food riots,
With Captain Swing riding over in Horsley,
While dark satanic mills in the valleys
Stood where weavers once combined for justice.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 I crossed the threshold of a century,
Past chapel, school, and blacksmith’s workshop,
Through labyrinths of handloom weavers’ paths,
Along a valley far below the flood threat
Of countless springs and teeming brooks and streams,
Along The Rollers, Chestnut Hill, Star Hill,
And so to the Jovial Foresters,
Where the players used to change for the match,
(Victorian post box in its roadside wall),
Past a blue plaque to Private Charles Marmont,
Died of wounds 21st May 1918,
Aged 20,
Buried Forest Green Chapel Graveyard,
And so to where Joseph Weight used to work
(A Nailsworth Conscientious Objector),
Before he faced the tribunal’s judgement
On whether he really had a conscience.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 And this is how I found the soul of Nailsworth –
In Newmarket, Shortwood, Horsley, Forest Green,
Wandering up and down through space and time –
And even though this felt a world away
From Stroud, let alone a new stadium
By the motorway at Eastington,
We can magnify small differences:
My DNA takes me back to Bronze Age migrations,
From the western fringes of India,
Thence to Anglo-Saxon invasions
Of what we now call England.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 We’re all migrants, aren’t we?
It doesn’t have to be a vampiric
Trope of metempsychosis:
Soul might be in the imagination,
Not a landscape or topography.
We’re all migrants, aren’t we?

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/the-soul-of-forest-green/