Thomas Clark became Scottish football’s first ever poet in residence when he was appointed by Borders side Selkirk FC in 2015. His first collection, Intae the Snaw, was published by Gatehouse Press in the same year. His work has featured on ITV, BBC Scotland, and Sky Sports News, of all places, and been published in Gutter, Lighthouse and Northwords Now. He is currently co-editor of online magazine Bella Caledonia, columnist at the National newspaper, and third choice right-back for the Scotland Writers Football Team.
The Battle o Philiphaugh
The grund appears fae mist, aroon a corner,
The sign ye dinnae spy til ye’re upon it,
“Welcome tae Selkirk” - plump blisters o rain
Staun oot like Braille for the blind or unconvertit.
Thare’s mair in heaven an earth… That’s right enough,
At Yarrow Park, three different kinds o pies,
An Bovril tae! Ower polystyrene cups,
The breaths arise like steam, arise like sighs,
Arise like lofted baws intae the skies,
Arise like lifted herts, like lifted eyes,
Baith baw an breath alike on winter wunds
Are blawn intae the boax, while auld men, wise,
Rememberin, nod their heids fae turtlenecks,
Jut oot tae meet a cross fower decades late,
An Strollers’ goalie’s, lungin, beaten, fawin…
I’the front row he sees his faither, watchin.
But the Souters gawin mental! Wee Muz, big Gaz,
The Ettrick Valley echoes wi unburdent seats.
Yin pumps his fist at something, runnin past,
A bud o joy amasses I’the sleet,
Then celebrations end. Wi hauns ootstretched,
They peel apairt in blossoms blue and white,
Drift back taewards the line. For nou, thare’s time.
Tho the daurk is hairdenin fast. The day turns night.
The baw is waitin. The players, hauns oan waists,
Are lined oan either side, awready ghaists.
The night, alane, the wund will cairy beams
Ower fields whaur ither poets aince dreamt dreams.
From Mind the Time (Football Memories Scotland, 2017)