Miller's Dale (after Adelstrop)
a day of dreams and hopes
a day of losing and finding
I overslept. I missed the coach.
This was one match I had to watch,
it was long odds that Leyton Orient
would ever grace Maine Road again.
Maybe we’d scrape a miracle win -
I bought a Manchester day return.
I was no fan of rural vistas -
one eye on the clock, the other
ticked off towns through Derbyshire;
Matlock, Two Dales, Rowsley, Bakewell.
So far, so good, until progress stalled -
a signal failure at Miller’s Dale.
Thirty frustrated minutes later
I shrugged off football for the day -
the Os would have to do without me.
I left the train to stretch my legs,
filling my lungs at every breath
with autumn sunshine redolence.
At three o’clock as whistles blew
the match kicked off, the train also.
I waved ‘goodbye’ and strolled away
off the platform, through a gate,
down along a dry-stone lane where
a blackbird’s song ensorcelled me.
With Jerusalem coursing every part
I walked from time to timelessness,
savouring England’s pleasant heart,
sweetening my soul with its heritage;
ancient cottages, stone-wall inns,
sheepdog trials and hawthorn hedges.
(Saturday October 6th 1962 ... Man City 2 – 0 Leyton Orient)