STEPHEN WATT returns with another poem for the ‘What Football Means To Me’ series
Pie-sweat and cigar-smoke from Boghead
stick in the throat
like a funeral sermon’s droll anecdotes
about a lost hero. Somewhere,
the buried prize of a Dumbarton memory
is printed in a faded diary
or untidy goals during cup victories
are recorded on crude film
hidden in an attic chest in Silverton.
We all have them. These so-called diddy dreams
when diddy teams lifted diddy cups
and gave our lives sparse joy
instead of giving up.
Like 1940, imagining Bellsmyre lads
beating biscuit tins with spoons
as Sons defeated Vale of Leven 4-2
to lift the Dumbartonshire Cup
or at the height of Beatlemania in 1965
when Castlehill girls
practised skills round milk bottles
after Falkirk were beaten
in the Stirlingshire Cup Final.
These small triumphs
may not be notable
but in the lower divisions
these moments become personal; special.
The country can keep their Archie Gemmill
moment because in Dumbarton’s back yard
stands a castle, magnet for the dark coats
and G82-lingo. In Levengrove park,
King Robert the Bruce’s internal organs
are buried near the sandstone war memorial
of a bronzed angel with golden wings.
Like the Japanese, we paint gold into things
which are supposedly broken, add beauty
to their value,
and in Aitken’s part-time players
their finest days had passed
discover merit in industrious effort;
unearth occasional gems like Froxylias.
No singled-out hero, just a diddy team
with diddy dreams of lifting diddy cups
while the rest of the country
appears to self-destruct.
And now, we’re on the cusp.
Rabbie Burns talked of ‘a skinful of bruises
and wounds’ upon visiting this town
but the crux is, that like this team,
he got through his rounds
to find heaven waiting on the other side.
Something is inside this club’s bones
like elephant tusks and volcanic stone
and in the black and gold and white
of supporters’ scarves and shadow light,
an occasion is waiting to be written about.
Shout loud for these so-called diddy cups;
it’s where the love for the smaller clubs
STEPHEN WATT IS THE POET-IN-RESIDENCE AT DUMBARTON FC. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @StephenWattSpit