In the tip-ups and the bleachers,
In the plasticated seats,
Spooks, no tickets, sit in thickets,
Staring through the early heats.
All the riders and the runners
Play the ball and pass the baton
Out of doors to ghost applause
From the seating no-one sat on.
Stroking down the lengths and breadths,
Swimmers fill the thrashing pools:
Eerie cheers may fill their ears
(It’s the gang of wraiths and ghouls).
Following the hurtling hurdlers,
Here’s a shadow and a shade,
All the undead, thin and unfed,
Watching how the games are played.
Crowded round the public telly
In its digital HD,
Apparitions in position
Cheer in silence, and for free.
The audience is invisible,
Watching international bodies:
A quiet roar comes. We’re at war.
Time to fill the place with squaddies,
Click here for a Guardian article
Click here to buy Bill’s new poetry collection, Ringers