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Charge Of The Light Brigade by Phil McNulty

 

We set up on the beach,
right by the pier,
away from the donkey dung,
jerseys for goals.
Started the game,
kicking the sand,
diving for saves,
dribbling the ball.
Another great goal!
 
We crashed through deck chairs,
upsetting the old folk
and their sandwiches
and flasks and plastic hips.
Stop moaning grandma!
You’re old and you’re ugly.
You should be in a home.
 
The game was going well.
I scored twice.
 
Then they got mad,
and came at us
with walking sticks and rolled up newspapers.
All bow-legged marching on the sand.
So we laughed and shouted
and jumped around.
Then we heard ‘Charge!’
And they shuffled faster.
Dad’s army. All barmy.
So we ran away.
 
Later by the rockstall
an old guy grabs my arm.
‘You were on the beach.
During the battle.’
‘No, no. Not me mate.
Mistaken identity.
Your memory’s going.
That’s the problem with being old.’
He pressed some coins in my hand.
His eyes were all dim and blue and watery with tears.
‘This is the best day we've had in years,’ he said.