FOOTBALL AT SLACKBy Ted Hughes
Between plunging valleys, on a bareback of hill
Men in bunting colours
Bounced, and their blown ball bounced.
The blown ball jumped, and the merry - coloured men
Spouted like water to head it.
The ball blew away downward -
The rubbery men bounced after it.
The ball blew jumped up and out and hung on the wind
Over a gulf of treetops.
Then they all shouted together, and the ball blew back.
Winds from fiery holes in heaven
Piled the hills darkening around them
To awe them. The glare light
Mixed its mad oils and threw glooms.
Then the rain lowered a steel press.
Hair plastered, they all just trod water
To puddle glitter. And their shouts bobbed up
Coming fine and thin, washed and happy
While the humped world sank foundering
And the valleys blued unthinkable
Under depth of Atlantic depression -
But the wingers leapt, they bicycled in air
And the goalie flew horizontal
And once again a golden holocaust
Lifted the cloud's edge, to watch them.
From: Collected Poems of Ted Hughes, edited by Paul Keegan. London: Faber