Photo by John Williams (2009)






























The Sport of Kings

Lucky Trevor, ever-ready,
skips into the bookies.
Accompanied by never say die
and hope that springs eternal.

Sashays to the window .
With a necromancer’s flourish
pulls a pony from his pocket
that he’ll turn into a monkey.

Half the pony’s on a nag
that turns into a donkey.
Reverses out the starting gate,
heads backwards to the paddock.

But still, there’s always never say die
and hope that springs eternal.
Twenty fucking five to one,
he’s bound to be in clover.

Nintendo for the kid.
Her outdoors so sweet.
The bailiffs off his back.
A big round for the lads.

They’re under starter’s orders.
an ecstasy of shuffling
the trap springs like a cobra
and Ruby Walsh is flying.

There’s Witchy Woman going strong
Mad Victor hugs the railings
but the track is on the sharp side
and they’ve handicapped him rotten.

They’re battling like titans
and the whips are out and cracking
Mad Victor cuts an angle.
There’s a kilo-ton collision.

And stealing through the blindside
like an Irish mist in April
it’s Never Say Die by seven lengths
from Hope That Springs Eternal.

As they’re flashing past the grandstand
there’s a roar in Paddy Powers.
Punters huddle in a haka
Lucky Trevor hugs his wallet.
The jockey’s weighing in.
The money’s smelling sweet.
Nintendo for the kid.
And a big round for the lads.

As he queues up at the counter
there’s an inquest by the stewards.
All the places are inverted.
All the winners are the losers.

Lucky Trevor grabs the teller
gets a smack that sends him senseless
and they dump him in a corner
with a thousand torn-up tickets.

Lucky Trevor, never-ready,
slinks out of the bookies.
Followed sheepishly
by never say die
and hope that springs eternal.