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The Saturday Poem: Great Sporting Moments, vol IV

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by Alan Jenkins

A brace of goals that I was meant to score,
Aged ten - how else can I explain them? Taken on the run
Or on the turn, from outside the eighteen-yard box.

The last-minute try that means we have won –
My first game for the big school's first fifteen – except
The full-time whistle has already gone. (I blunder on

Through their bewildered backs....) The catch
I take so deep in the outfield it almost knocks me
Backwards over the boundary. Last man out. End of match.

I can still see myself, skinny legs in baggy khaki shorts,
Forehand-drive my way through the singles draw
Against the white-clad ones on the tennis-club courts

And hurtle towards the crossbar that day I leapt
Into the record-books.... How reliable these replays are,
How I depend on them! But all the same it shocks me,

To think that I was once that little star,
So lean and taut and primed – the boy who mocks me;
How brief the main event, through which I must have slept.

• From Revenants, published by Clutag Press, RRP £12.50


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