The boys were risen right out of their seats
By the wind the whistle cued, they pushed along
In the damp and heavy-coated crowd, away
From all of it, away from this one song
The man beside them knew. Rough cigarettes
He’d prodded at them while he had his say
About the action. Now where was he gone,
They wondered. Not so far: he’d only paused
A sec to cup a hand to his white face
As the flame he got kept blowing out. This caused
The men behind to eff and blind this one
Obstruction tottering in the one place
They had to be. In good part the boys too
Had something left to share with him: some crack
About his not-in-fact-that-lucky stone.
But when they turned again he still hung back,
Striking and striking as men muscled through
Obscuring him, till he became unknown.
Glyn Maxwell, “England Germany” from The Breakage: Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Glyn Maxwell.
Source: The Breakage: Poems
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999)