Could He Get Any Verse?

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Well, when it looked as though the country’s artistic elite would let us down with not a line, rhyme, portrait or sculpture to greet the arrival of our new manager, I had to take matters into my own hands.

As a man who is comfortable in the palaces of high culture, I took it upon myself to rectify the situation by commissioning Doggerell naGobshite, one of Ireland’s foremost Gaelic poets, to pen a few well-turned verses in honour of Carlo’s arrival.

Aside from negligible cost, Doggerell being one of Ireland’s most committed Chelsea fans only required the price of a pint or ten, there were many other reasons for choosing him. But the major drawback was his inability to write in the medium of English. Now this publishing lark isn’t cheap and in order to keep costs down I undertook the translation from the original Gaelic myself. It was hard work as naGobshite excels in a peculiar verse form found only in the 7th century bardic traditions of three villages in a remote area of Munster, but I believe I have rendered the beauty of the piece as it appeared in the original language.

Textual Notes (by the well known critic Limerick O’Loonihan)

Noting Carlo’s background in Calcio we see how, rather than engaging in free verse, the poet has chosen a disciplined and quite rigid form in which to give expression to his art. There is an ordered rhyme scheme coupled with a well-structured rhythm throughout the piece. This mirrors expectations of how the manager will approach the game.

Creativity, you ask? Well some would say that what sets the greats apart is their ability to practise within the rigour of a set format, the straitjacket of form if you like. Subtle changes of pace and rhythm, flashes of brilliance bursting out and momentarily changing the pattern, unsettling and inspiring by turns.

All this can be found within naGobshite’s fine writing.

(That’ll have to do O’Bayou. Being the Gombeen man you are you can’t be relied on to pay me for any more. Don’t go sending me any cheap mouthwash like you usually do. It’s a bottle of Powers or you’ll get it in the bracket next time we meet. And that translation’s an affront to poetry, a travesty. There’s no reason to be feeling so pleased with yerself.)

Editor’s Note

O’Loonihan, while a respected literary critic, is not the full shilling as you can see. In the interests of artistic freedom I have printed his thoughts in full. Maybe next time I’ll spend a few more Euros and see what Seamus Heaney makes of it all.

The Ancelotti Salutation (by Gobshite naDoggerell, with an English translation by B. O’Bayou)

Hello Carlo,
Sit yourself down,
Welcome to our dizzying town.
West Ham’s East and Fulham’s West
But this is where the football’s best.

The Bridge awaits,
We watch, all quivery
Anticipating Pato, Ribery?
Will you prosper? Will you cope?
They’ll only give you so much rope.

The season’s long,
The prizes many,
What happens if we don’t win any?
Then friend, your fate is sealed for sure
You will be ushered through the door.

We trust this will
Not come to pass,
So stop a while and raise a glass,
Bid hail unto our latest chief,
Let’s hope your reign will not be brief.

Another book,
A bright new story,
We’re off again, bound for glory,
Thumb the page, turn o’er a leaf,
Read the chapter called “Belief”.

Your countrymen
Have done us proud,
We sang their praises, sang out loud,
The shaven headed, smoking Vialli
The Roman butcher’s son, Ranieri.

Guus, the Dutchman,
Son of the soil.
He made them sweat, he made them toil.
Once again we were a force,
On Wembley’s turf, we stayed the course

A pig man’s son
Now takes the reins,
A man with football in your veins.
You’ve shinned up the greasy pole,
To climb again must be your goal.

So take good care
Of our lovely boys.
To us they’re heroes, not mere toys.
Their skills, their hearts you must not scoff at,
We have enough of that with Moffat.

It just remains
To say good luck,
Remember you may have to duck,
The arrows that our press will fire,
To try and drop you in the mire.