Football Time

Football Time

I was never
 that close to my Dad,
He’d had a bad war in the Chindits,
fighting behind Japanese lines
Gave him
 twenty years of 
mood swings
And irrational
 bursts of unpredictable
But one Sunday 
 after the pub,
Out the back on the lawn,
He taught me 
to trap the ball,
How to kill it stone dead,
How to use your brain and body
one movement
And so control 
the world.
And when I played
 in the street,
I found that if 
I dropped my shoulder
And wriggled
 my hips,

I had a natural 
untaught body swerve,
I could go past players
 as if they weren’t there,
I could get
 to the bye-line
And put the ball
Onto the centre forward’s
And when I see
 a match 
At a big stadium
 or on a recreation ground,
And a player has a number 7
on his back
(Like me and like my dad),
And he traps
 the ball, wriggles his hips,

Beats the wing-back 
and crosses the ball,
Then my Dad’s alive again,
On our back lawn again,
And I’m 5 again,
And that’s why I like football:

It plays tricks
with time.

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