Monday, 14 September 2009

Back from... Berlin

Two flights - one to Schiphol from Berlin Tegel, the other on to Norwich. Under the cloud cover the spire of the cathedral stands out and, as you descend, the town hall too. A strong wind. Just before the Berlin flat a call from a photographer, Ekko von Schwichow. He wants a few quick photographs. He turns up ten minutes before the shuttle car does, just as the three of us are eating some soup in the corner restaurant. He takes about 30 photographs in about five minutes, some of me peeking round a wall. It looks fine, if a bit of a blur as far as I am concerned (though not, presumably as far as the photographs are concerned). Then the shuttle car arrives and together with the Dutch children's writer, catching the same plane.

Sadness. Sad to be leaving friends but already I am thinking of the crowded days ahead, at university and other travels (all in UK for a while).

Here is one of the five football poems, the first to be written.

And Charlton Scores...!

Way back in 1966
when Wembley was a mile away
my dad and I went down to see
Mexico and England play.

The score was 0-0. From the stand
we watched as Charlton thundered through
(more cruised than thundered to be fair)
then let fly out of the clear blue,

let fly, let go - we saw it slice
clean through the air, or thought we saw,
and then the ball was in the net.
Silence a second, shock and awe,

then WHAM! the roar! Men leapt, raised fists,
a surge of fierce electric joy
such as when Greek soldiers surged
through the wide open gates of Troy.

But as for Charlton, he just turned
and trotted to the halfway line,
prepared to restart. I was there.
I saw it all. His goal was mine.

All true.


Gwil W said...

George, you were there. And did you know I was there, well at least there in the sense that I was in front of the TV, when they asked Pele who was the next to him world's greatest footballer and he smiled and said softly but I heard him George and I read his lips and he said Bobby Charlton...

George S said...

Yes, I know how highly Pele rated Bobby Charlton, who was my great hero when I just turned ten. He could and did play badly sometimes but providing that isn't too often we tend to remember players at their very best. Charlton at his best was majestic, striding and cruising through defences with a kind of electric purpose. We knew he could let one fly at any moment.

Gwil W said...

"with...electric purpose..." absolutely!
Pele and Charlton. Two of sport's gentlemen. No need for early showers or cards.

Gwil W said...

I thought the service for Bobby Robson in Durham Cathedral was very moving - what little I saw of it - but I saw Charlton and he looked 'wrecked' (not in the alcohol sense) - the man looked like a man whose wife or kids had suddenly perished in a car crash - I hope he recovers.
He could never make it as a manager. He had the failing of being, well, too human.