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.)

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