Sport Story of a Winner

By Glyn Maxwell b. 1962 Glyn Maxwell

(for Alun and Amanda Maxwell)

He was a great ambassador for the game.
                                   He had a simple name.
His name was known in households other than ours.
                                   But we knew other stars.
We could recall as many finalists
                                   as many panellists.
But when they said this was his Waterloo,
                                   we said it was ours too.

His native village claimed him as its own,
                                   as did his native town,
adopted city and preferred retreat.
                                   So did our own street.
When his brave back was up against the wall,
                                   our televisions all
got us shouting, and that did the trick.
                                   Pretty damn quick.

His colours were his secret, and his warm-up
                                   raindance, and his time up
Flagfell in the Hook District, and his diet
                                   of herbal ice, and his quiet
day-to-day existence, and his training,
                                   and never once explaining
his secret was his secret too, and his book,
                                   and what on earth he took

that meant-to-be-magic night in mid-November.
                                   You must remember.
His game crumbled, he saw something somewhere.
                                   He pointed over there.
The referees soothed him, had to hold things up.
                                   The ribbons on the Cup
were all his colour, but the Romanoff
                                   sadly tugged them off.

We saw it coming, didn’t we. We knew
                                   something he didn’t know.
It wasn’t the first time a lad was shown
                                   basically bone.
Another one will come, and he’ll do better.
                                   I see him now—he’ll set a
never-to-be-beaten time that’ll last forever!
                                   Won’t he. Trevor.

Glyn Maxwell, “Sport Story of a Winner” from The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995. Copyright © 2000 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Glyn Maxwell.

Source: The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000)

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Poet Glyn Maxwell b. 1962


Subjects Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries

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 Glyn  Maxwell


Born in England to Welsh parents, Glyn Maxwell was educated at Oxford University and Boston University, where he studied both poetry and theater with Derek Walcott. This simultaneous training in two disciplines has enabled him to create innovative work across genres. Maxwell has written numerous verse plays as well as long narrative poems. The Sugar Mile (2005), a verse narrative set in a Manhattan bar a few days before . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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