MCG (Black and White and Blues)

I can feel it with my hand on a wall
the MCG alive with rumbled dull thunder
vibrating through acres of concrete and brick
the first twenty thousand to gather
are trembling the foundations of this coliseum
we are early but the filling of the tiers has begun

the reserve teams are the dew-kickers
out on the field of play from lunchtime in the role of
lesser spectacle and time-filler before the pre-match
singing entertainment and announcements
until the commencement of the main attraction

this stand is a babble for the big one
black and white plays navy blue
the place in front of us casually reserved
by a blanket spread the precise
posterior width of two men and a child
on a peeling wooden bench painted
the dull but distinctive shade of green
that is recognised universally as Members Only Seating

my companions are here for a first time
it is all a new excitement but by half-time we are losing
the boy is rocked halfway unconscious
from the thumping sound of so many goals scored
by players coloured black and white and magpie
and the first grim consideration of going home early
has been raised for we are shaded darkly glum
in the absence of any coherent defense
by the rabble undeservedly wearing navy blue jumpers

I can see a thousand people in curving rows
on my right hand side like so many background faces
in a crowd painting white and pink and lacking feature
all craning forward for a better view

of the dasher wearing forty-three who has the ball in hand
surely he can turn the game around
in the shaking crescendo rising from the massed crowd
speaking as one to shout the statement
that he has fired through the goal between defenders
leaving them looking as foolish as small children
in an arena intended for occupation by adults
we may still be in the hunt for this trophy game

the scoreboard at the last break informs that
we are some seventy-five thousand representatives
of two teams engaged in peaceful battle
over all the long years since Federation
but we don’t care our boys have hit the front
and we are screaming for them
to take the black and white apart and leave
only a cloud of floating feathers for their mascot
to collect when we are done with them

at the siren it is over and we are beaten
because we began playing as a team far too late
but I can’t be overwrought on a day like this
the tribes have done their battle under the sun
of tradition at the MCG and we have cheered
and called until I am so hoarse that a croak
is all the comment I’m able to offer
while making our way to the football train
through a happily buzzing crowd that knows
this has been a good one


© Frank Prem, 2001

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