Tag Archives: Rugby league

Remembrance :( Northern Union Final Pre-War )

Beneath faded picture card skies,
uneven lines huddle outside
(Belle Vue,Fartown,Headingley)
elysian fields where empty
terraces beckon down-at-heel
conquistadors searching their
deepest pockets for a hidden
El-Dorado of Ha’pennies,Tanners
and thrup’ny bits;
Worn out archaic faces peer at
children playing on the corner
where a temperance band greets
the trams disembarking volunteers
for the autumnal Mardi-Gras,
a feast of mesmerising havoc,
where legendary warriors
(Wagstaff,Goldthorpe,Parkin)
are again released from sepia-tinted
summers’siren thrall to engage in
rites of combat that’ll be retold
in troubadour ballads of the golden age;
A golden age whose lanterns grow
dim and exhortations expire and
charabancs hoofbeats recede as other
hoofbeats herald a darker destiny under
foreign skies for figures the colour
of a Lowry drawing hearthward bound,
past fast fading Charlie Chaplin at
the Picture House,Karno at the Royal,
through silent grainy tableaux where
steam whistles shrill and pit wheels
spin,above Balaclava,Inkerman,Mafeking,
uneven huddled streets down which
sepia-tinted warriors shall never come
marching,never come marching home,again.

(“Remembrance”a.k.a.”Northern Union Final Pre-War”was first published in the official matchday programme of Wakefield Trinity v.Halifax,19/3/2000 and the poem was performed on 5/7/2000 at the anniversary Monkey Bar now the Cow Shed on Northgate,Wakefield gig.)

Gone..

The last gate has been locked,
the last groundsman has gone,
Stands empty now,
soon not a brick or heap will remain;
(boots in the locker,jerseys on the floor)
Clarence Street and Fartown no more.

Clouds pass and the deserted
neighbourhood’s murmur fades
leaving the open field to its destiny
Void and awake,silently talking
to the silent travelling moon;
“The day has passed,they have gone”

Names that were once our fortress,
thirteen giants on the horizon
to which our dreams aspired;
(boots in the locker,jerseys on the floor)
Crown Flatt and Parkside no more.

Lonely and still the phantom
Stands glisten,the goalposts
symbols of our aspirations,
etch their gaunt shadows across the
turf,whereon the last try was scored,
(boots in the locker,jerseys on the floor)
hopes and dreams,no more.

Footnotes
(this poem was first published in Total rugby league magazine on 14/6/2000 and appeared in the official matchday programme for Wakefield Trinity v.Bradford Bulls on 23/7/2000.)
*Clarence Street was the historic home ground of York RLFC;Fartown was the home of Huddersfield RLFC-the team Tommy Smales played for-;Crown Flatt was home to Dewsbury RLFC and Parkside belonged to Hunslet RLFC.*And all before the noble Northern game of Rugby League sold its soul to NewsCorp and the Summer superleague.

Last of the Hard Men

Mud-stained
blood stained,
distraught
getting caught
out in the
rain and snow
with nowhere to go;
nowhere to run
nowhere to hide,
nothing left
to lose but that
sense of pride of,
battling and standing
up to the likes of,
Knocker,Big Jim and Kurt;
face ground in the dirt,
fists flurried in the scrum
sound of trumpets,
beating of the drum;
Ref.blow the whistle
let battle commence
and then..
tell me about the
last of the hard men.

(First published in the official matchday programme for Wakefield Trinity v.London Broncos,27/8/2000 and then in Total Rugby League magazine a week later)

“Touchdown!”

“In the beginning is the kick-off,

the ball flies spiralling high and

true into the sacrosanct home

In-Goal area where it’s snagged,

neatly hugged by the swivel-hipped

Full-back who evades the predatory

first would-be tacklers,

and starts his run up the field;

A-drenalin thumping,

P-ulse racing..vein bursting,

N-erve shattering..muscle tearing,

S-inew shredding..heel hammering,

L-ung aching..turf churning..mud

spattering..trail blazing..barricade busting,

St-adium shuddering..Har-vesting hosannahs

Garnering adu-lation..

Inducing..tumult…”

(Louis Kasatkin has asserted his Right under the Copyright,
Designs&Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work)