Passing beauty: poem

January 10, 2023

Passing beauty

It's moving, just ahead
of the player's most clever feet.
Every four years, we fill a cup,
then pour it out, a month of dreams.
Was it just last week that Bergkamp
flicked with orange elegance,
side-footing space and time?
No, he is long gone now, 
off fielding fifty years.
Others follow.  Messy time
melts beauty, remoulds it, 
casts it always anew.
It never ages, constantly fired,
as we fade, we watchers,
yesterday's players, passing.
Twenty sips at the cup
will fill a lifetime;
held safe in keeper's hands.

PS Cottier


This football poem was first published in Eureka Street, and then in broadsheet (New Zealand), no 13, Special World Cup football issue, 2014.  Finally (before today!) in Boots, a new edition of Mark Pirie’s 2014 football poetry anthology, 2017.
I refuse to look up how old the Dutch player Bergkamp is now!

I am not the only one still suffering minor withdrawal symptoms after the end of the World Cup.  Great to see Argentina win, and the pun on the word 'messy' in my poem is deliberate.

I am very much looking forward to the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year.  

Image Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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