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The Football

Who would have guessed that a small tree

could be so vicious. All day you had kicked

the new football back and forth against

the gable of the red brick terrace and

not even the promise of ice cream could

coax you away, until the Blackthorn spoilt the game.


That’s when you ran back, holding the thing

with your thumb pressed white against its skin.

You begged me for some gaffa tape or a

party trick that would stop its very existence

disappearing. The air leaking through the

thorn sized piercing and the leather


becoming loose fitting and worn. Stars with

names of champions began to crumple

as though a new black hole was melting them,

slowly destroying them. We searched through cupboards

and kitchen drawers and made a detour to the cellar head

but found nothing that could stop the flow.


You wanted to shout at it but that’s when your

voice broke so instead I took the ball from your hand

and guided you back outside, back out onto

the street. At first we could aim it at least twenty

yards but as the air filtered out with every pass the

distance between us vanished as though we were


kites hauling each other back. In minutes we

stood only inches apart. Shattered, you

picked the thing up, now lifeless and together we held it.

‘Let it go,’ I whispered. And as one

 we launched it, as though it deserved it, high into

treetops where it rattled like a pinball before


flinging itself out into the broken sky. Onwards it raced

dodging a V shaped migration before bursting through

clouds and somersaulting past an aeroplane on final

manoeuvres. We shaded our eyes and watched the

thing, now magnificent, circle and soar, and silently

we traced its journey with our hands held high.


It skirted the atmosphere, following satellites

as though trapped beneath ice, eclipsing the sun

to momentarily send our world into shadow

before it charged through to a solar system

where, free from gravity it pulled away,

becoming a giant before exploding

and sending a million stars scattering.


How it came to be in the park, no one would ever know.

The punctured years had loosened its shape

and dirtied its coat. The stars were gone.

Between the bandstand and Samuel Laycock  

it had readied itself for a new life; challenging

the middle classes to team building tasks

whilst sometimes practising dental hygiene

for stray dogs. Once it was the weapon of choice

for the group of lads that thought it would be

fun to try to knock an old man down.


In quieter times it would sit by the swings

or out of sight beneath the trees. At night it liked to dip its toes

into pools of water collected by the bowling green.

There it watched passersby and occasionally it would glimpse

someone it recognised, but too many years had passed

it by to now say anything worthwhile.

David ColdwellfootballMarsdenpoetry for schools

◄ Severe Miss Gladstone


<Deleted User> (6895)

Sun 9th Jul 2017 10:38

<Deleted User> (6895)

Sun 9th Jul 2017 10:38

oh happy days! thanks for the well written memories.

P&S xx

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