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notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK
Sunday, January 25, 2004Dear dear Dixie Dean Jan sent me a poem of hers the other day, a recent one about the bell of Iona Parish Church, "uncompromising in its demand / that the people come - / with no promise of comfort or beauty". And invited me to send her one in exchange, as at the moment there's a small group of Iona residents writing and reading aloud to each other, a creative interaction in these cold times.
So it ought to have been a thoughtful thing, something which would sing between those ancient Abbey walls where the blackbirds join the sharing of the bread and Columba and MacLeod seem still present. When it came to it, however, it turned into a footy poem. This is because:
(a) Prior to today's FA Cup tie, I met for an hour outside Goodison with Greenbelt poet-performer, Slade fan and Evertonian extraordinaire Paul Cookson; and
(b) because he told me the story of Goodison legend Dixie Dean, who was once the victim of such a brutal foul during a game that he lost a testicle. I'm afraid I have to report that that is the enduring image of my day...
So, in the style of Cookson, here goes:
Dear dear Dixie Dean
King of the thirties soccer scene
All-time goalscorer supreme:
Boy that must have made you scream.
Lauded in Goodison's sacred halls
Your pictures are on all its walls
Your footwork meant you took some falls
We also know it took some balls
They say you had a plate in your head
From a bike accident you might have been dead
Still loads of your goals were headers they said
We're glad you wore blue and never red
Fearless Dixie through every debacle
You wouldn't let defenders raise a hackle
You never would pull out of a tackle
Despite the effect it could have on your tackle
Dixie's records stretch footy knowledge
Blues' bets on him they'd never hedge
To honour him I'll eat, I pledge
A fitting meal - meat and one veg.