Friday, December 23, 2005

Football and Religion

A Glasgow Football Story

The burnt-out house of my childhood casts
shadows bent blue on the Ibrox Park gates.

Steak Pie Suppers cloud up the arctic air
with steam, which spirits through the old keyhole

like King Billy drove his white horse through
the eye of a needle on my bedroom wall

and flutes cracked windowglass to the city’s east.
My father removed Billy’s picture for one day

in the summer of seventy-three to welcome
the new family next door. I took Sean

to the balcony, played hanging over the side
for a dare, while the adults drank beer

like old school-friends. My mother called us
for Cremolafoam. I said, “Give the green cup

to Sean,” and was bundled to bed with
beatings to come. Sean left. Only now returns.

Notes: the "King Billy" of the poem refers to the Protestant King William of Orange. And in Glasgow, the traditionally Catholic team, Celtic, play in green and white colours. "Ibrox Park" is the home stadium of the traditionally Protestant team, Rangers.

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