The Game in Cardiff

Dai was togged in blazing scarlet,

likewise Wil his long-time butty

with a spot of green to top it

for to see the game in Cardiff.

Both went striding down the valley,

down the long and winding valley

with their tickets in their pockets,

tickets for the game in Cardiff.

Stopped to have some Brain’s for breakfast

– for the Colliers Arms was open –

bright and burnished Brain’s for breakfast

frothy as the spit of cuckoo,

gleaming like a stained glass window,

amber nectar of Valhalla.

Missed the blydi bus by seconds

– quaffed again the heavenly liquid –

got the next one in an hour.

Entered then the hallowed stadium,

sacred centre of the nation,

proud omphalos of the Cymry,

ground revered by all and sundry

where their fathers had lambasted

brawny men from many countries,

Pumas, Wallabies, Springboks, Kiwis

and of course the #?!@%! English –

taught the last some hardy lessons,

tied them up in scarlet ribbons,

packed them back across the border,

handy little dyke of Offa.

Joined the swelling shifting thousands,

shifting, singing sixty thousand

voices drawn from hill and valley,

from Cwmscwt and Bethyngalw,

from the far and distant places,

from all far-off towns and hamlets,

belting out the bread of heaven.

And the fifteen never faltered –

speeding, jinking, swerving wonders,

coursing, sprinting swift magicians

blitzing through the opposition

scoring tries in quick succession,

till the red fifteen, victorious,

brought the game to its conclusion.

Wil and Dai went out ecstatic

carried by the joyous thousands

swirling in that happy river

sweeping through the streets of Cardiff,

drizzly, shining streets of Cardiff.

Then they stopped to have some supper

made of hops and served in tankards,

long and drawn-out frothy supper

held in tankards big and brimming,

brimming with the gold-and-flowing

soft-as-velvet wonder-water,

fabled patriotic potion

strong as steel and clear as crystal;

tossed it down their throats with vigour

as had mighty men of valour

in the days of yore before them

in the storied Mabinogion.

Missed the blydi bus by seconds

– quaffed again the heavenly liquid –

missed the next one in an hour.

So it was that stars were fading,

starry skies of Wales were paling

when our bloated, tired heroes

trekked the road that led them homeward.

Both went stumbling up the valley

(stupid, never-ending valley)

with no money in their pockets

but with plenteous pints inside them;

step by tired step they went, then,

gloating on the game in Cardiff.

Gwen and Bron were waiting for them,

waiting for those two delinquents,

for those boozy, beery rascals

lurching slowly up the valley –

chased the miscreants up the mountain,

tackled one and then the other,

beery belly, legs like jelly

no match for those Welsh girls’ fervour.

Hauled them back and not politely

booted them to bed and scowling,

wagged their fingers, loudly warning

they would cop it in the morning.

But clever Dai and Wil woke early

(clever from the Brain’s inside them),

mooched around for several hours

till the Colliers Arms was open,

stopped to have a frothy breakfast

(followed quickly by another)

and – with consummate dissection –

lived again the game in Cardiff.

From ‘Welsh Past and Present’

11 thoughts on “The Game in Cardiff

  1. Vivid imagery and wit. I also like the well observed nature of the writing. For me the poem had a good strong ending. It would be good to hear this piece read aloud.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Michael. The metre of ‘The Kalevala’, made popular by Longfellow in his ‘Hiawatha’ is a versatile favourite of mine.

      Like

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