Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Home Is Where The Hampden Is

Home Is Where The Hampden Is by Stephen Watt, DFC Poet in Residence.

Stand by the railway line
and the bowling club
where silver starlight spins strands of turnstiles.
The first child of Queens Park FC
howls in the gales, whirls in the debris
of Hampden phantoms designing their holy grails.

Hallowe'en 1903, ghost-dreams
bequeathed skin, bricks, turf.
The third incarnation of Hampden Park
dwarfed the world's stadiums;
blazed light into the Langside dark
and moulded roofs from its dreich Heavens.

In Latin, Ludere Causa Ludendi.
In English, to play for the sake of playing.
In Scottish, say only this:

Home is where the Hampden is.

The bygone echoes of rattling crackers,
swirling scarves,
spiralling flat caps
launched like shooting stars
pirouettes inside the fluttering hearts
of all who tread inside its exalted stone.

What Queens Park calls home,
the country calls event, occasion, a moment.
The welcome relief of wartime internationals,
the ivory shirts of Puskas and Di Stefano
still evident in the whites of seniors' eyes.
Zidane's artistry, now a Glaswegian folktale;

if it was tangible, it'd be fossilised.

Home is where the Hampden is.

Follow the floodlights, compass
to the eternal optimist, past kids
playing in the leafy debris of Cathkin Park
whose silver dreams materialise in autumn mist
with unpronounceable names
printed upon their backs

towards Mungo's steel amphitheatre
where a fever of football tops
pilot painted faces, flags,
ridiculous hats which belong on Parisian catwalks,
and police horses beaming wide gnashers
for the television cameras, next to the food trucks.

Home is where the Hampden is.

This arena, digs, abode of the dreamers
lingers in the souvenirs we all revere;
Pele's name on a ragged team-sheet,
Bremner's autograph scrawled on a ticket receipt,
Spider's threads between the seats
where pictures at fixtures
alongside mothers and fathers,
no longer with us,

now sit framed upon the mantelpiece.

Home is where the Hampden is,
was, and always lives.

Next Poem - Veteran of the 5s Scene