Upper Tier, Front Row


Kev looks across
Calls me over
There's a seat
Beside him
In the front row
A great view


A player
Jogs closer
Pauses preparation
Looks up seeking
Familial faces
Points a finger
To the right
Blows a kiss
To someone


Squeezed in tight
Beside her mum,
She sees the man
In the blue shirt
Then bursts out
My Daddy!"


Her daughter
New baby boy
On her knee
She's touched
By the joy
Of her little girl
With arms full
she can only nod
And smile
Hopes he won't
Get hurt
Not lose
Come home


Hunched over
On walking stick
So old that
The process of
His gradual
Even during
The match
He's here
At the prospect
To be here
Having been
By paramedics
Who worked on him
For three hours
Just two weeks ago
That he missed
Two matches
That they were
Pretty dull
By all accounts


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2023. Day 23 prompt: Numerous numbered stanzas from various people’s perspectives at the same setting.

CLP 23/04/2023


On four separate pylons, one per corner
The things to look for, Proper Lights
Not strung out beads along the top of each stand

A symmetry of steel sentries attending the stadium
Perspective rotating the shining pins
As the train curves into town
Or the main road breaks into capillaries
Until proximity fixes the view

Neck craned I'd seek the service ladder
Wondering who had nerves steady enough
To climb, climb, climb, climb up
Change a bulb, weather the descent

Would he need to count the rungs up to do his work
And then again, count down until safely grounded
To help concentrate on scaling each spire
one hundred and thirty-four feet six inches high

Visible from the crest of Portsdown Hill
Lights that marked my Home, Pompey
Lights that turned Roker's terrace roofs silver
Or from the M6, over Birmingham
Lights arranged in two pairs A and V
How bright they were at Aston Villa

The No 19 moving slow on the High Road
Spilling passengers outside the ground
Beneath the illumination of White Hart Lane

At Barnsley, the lights' glow drawing the crowd
Into Oakwell over the gentle rise
gantries emerging from below
as we step closer through feeble snow

Easing into Crewe, Peterborough, Swindon, Ipswich
Eyes fixed on the lattice work
Head rotating to hold the sight
To note the architectural twists
to relive or dream

Another football ground for the lists
Been there: won, draw, defeat, abandoned, postponed
Not been there: next season if...or in the FA Cup

"I can see the lights"
I'd shrill as a child
And still, as a child
when no more a child


n.b. The NaPoWriMo 2023, Day 7 prompt a list poem, that is not quite a list, but has list poem qualities.

I have two lists on the go and I am not the only one.

CLP 07/04/2023

on time

so thrilled to be there
right at the front, watching warm-up
somebody's grandson


n.b. Which is how it started for me too, over fifty years ago.

CLP 18/02/2023

on time

Saturday again
always the same, but different
FA Cup weekend


n.b. You know what I’m talking about? It’s a special day to start off the new year.

Festivities behind us, time to get serious.

CLP 07/01/2023

on time

cricket in Sydney
while we are getting ready
football in Pompey


CLP 01/01/2023

on time

we scraped snow off lines
kicked the ball through heavy flakes
played as if still kids


n.b. Such fun to be able to run and slide about chasing a football for an hour, even when the air temperature is less than zero.

CLP 15/12/2022

on Iran

ball bounces around
all eyes on the football match
we hear your silence


n.b. Footballers refuse to sing the anthem of the theocracy. A banner in the stadium, ‘WOMEN LIFE FREEDOM‘.

CLP 21/11/2022

on time

you'd think it's Sunday
traffic absent, birdsong clear
Ingerland kick off


n.b. I was rudely interrupted by the heavy fall of silence. An international football game was about to start, so nearly everything else stopped.

CLP 21/11/2022

on time

evening out in town
better than television
even when we lose


n.b. It’s not possible to have a good time all the time, but one can have fun trying,

CLP 18/10/2022

on time

the congregation
depart bathed in victory
everyone happy

n.b. Not so great for the visiting opposition, admittedly.

CLP 17/07/2022