Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

vs TNS by Stephen Watt, DFC Poet in Residence.

Lambing vans multiply as our destination looms.

Where town names emerge like eye examinations,
bereft of vowels and pronunciation,

those bosom-seated fans we see in the stand
have braved their own Goliath trek
and manifest from sweaty buses, cars, trains, and vans

into Oswestry's border town.

The volume is amped.
Off Unicorn Road, a rambling of beer gardens
thrums with Dumbarton's anthems

and on the large TV screens inside pubs,
the Manchester United game is widely snubbed
in favour of our own echoes and memories.

Inside the ground,
the drums and flags and pats on the back
begins. New territory. Visitor etiquette.
And the fans mingle, accents blend,
banners pinned at both ends of the stadium
and our very own pipers storm with the breath
and misty-eyed glory of Loch Lomond.

Then, those goals. Those utterly, heaven-sent r a s p e r s
which lurched the goalframe
sending us into raptures,
clasping strangers like brothers and sisters
(and could be heard as far away as Chester).

Those goals would prune the journey home,
replayed repeatedly on mobile phones
and spin daydreams like wool on Saxony wheels
where the knitted scarves held above our heads
broadcast our spirit animal elephant-crest

and the colours of our hope;
the pride in our chests.