Beach Football – a poem

Raheem Sterling playing keeping uppy on the beach in Rio, with Sugarloaf Mountain behind
Raheem Sterling playing keeping uppy on the beach in Rio, with Sugarloaf Mountain behind

Welcome to Rio – Marvellous City,
The sun is shining brightly and the parrot’s on the wing,
Fabiana and Rodrigo are playing keepy-uppy
With a football made of rags and bags and smelly socks and string.

“Fabi! Rodrigo! Come and see what Papa got,
A very special something for you football-crazy kids.
It’s big! It’s round! It’s what you’ve always talked about:
A proper leather football with a polyester stitch!”

“CARRACAS!” cries Fabi. “I like it! I love it!
It’s black and white and shiny and it’s bigger than my head!”
“AI CARAMBA!” yells Rodrigo. “Can we bounce it? Can we kick it?
Can we go outside and try it out before we go to bed?”

Hot headed, bare footed, tearing through the shanty town,
Fabi and Rodrigo have the football at their feet,
Run rabbit, run rabbit, dribble till the sun goes down,
Flowing fast and free along the mean favela streets.

Rio’s got talent and slumdogs got soul,
Streetkids and gangsters are coming out to play,
Underneath a washing line, over a pothole,
Spilling down the narrow steps to Guanabara Bay.

Trick it! Flick it! Then kick it on the volley,
You can feel the samba rhythm and the sand between your toes,
Here a cheeky nutmeg and there a sneaky lollipop,
Then cut it back and cross it low and slam it in the goal.

Man on! Man on! And now you’ve got a crab on!
Fabiana weaves among a boogie-boarding throng,
Rodrigo! Amigo! Don’t lose it in the sea, bro!
Focus on your footwork as you cannonball along.

High up in the clouds on Sugarloaf Mountain
Three toucans in a gum tree whistle with delight,
There are fifty players on the pitch but nobody is counting,
There’s a samba football frenzy on Flamengo beach tonight!

Published by

Stephen Davies

Children's author: picture books, chapter books and YA novels

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