Retired from teaching, now he dallies in
the smoker's shelter of the Dog and Duck.
He's always ready with a grubby grin
and tender growl to grab your arm and tuck
into his tales of muddy fields in sleet:
rounders and fraying bibs; laps and gritty
scabs; whistles and the rap of rushing feet;
that lanky Boyce had had a trial with City!
He stops to wipe his chin and gulp his drink,
relights a narrow rollie. On his nose
capillaries unfold their florid ink.
The flitting of his little eyes has slowed.
As you start to move on, he burps. Well, son,
that's over now, but were my lessons fun?