Sports Day

The dog is lanced into the evening air;
a javelin with limbs, tensile in flight,
her resolute trajectory impaired
by non-aerodynamic tail delight

The ball she strains towards is stalling now,
about to fall; I almost hear the shift
and gasp of blades of yellow grass below
pre-empting puffs of dandelion drift

Just to the left of where the dog has missed,
a youth has dipped his shoulder in a dive;
he nails a perfect Tsukahara twist
and turns one hand, palm-up, to catch the wide

A hitch in time. The dog is stilled, flecked lips
and rose ears lifted, eyes fixed on the ball;
the ball’s furred surface at his fingertips,
the youth, mouth wide, freeze-framed beneath it all

Then mayhem in the tackle and the scrum,
and strangers join the race who did not start:
they chase the ball-thief but she will not come;
the sweetest thing in life is taking part

Hilary Lissenden

If you have any comments on this poem, Hilary Lissenden would be pleased to hear them.