Dark Art


Denizens of darkness, of late-night hush.
Playing on green baize, smoothed with a brush.
Outbreaks of noise silenced with a “shush!”
Gentle tinkling, dinking, clicking of spheres.
Troubles set aside, allaying of fears.

Sepulchral silence envelops the game.
Courtesy, elegance, sportsmanship. Strange
that the names of the famed are “whirlwind”,
“rocket”, “hurricane”.

So relaxing, so perfect, after stresses of the day;
to watch such sonorous, subtle, skilful play.
My engagement is active, my excitement is real;
yet, softly, slowly, slumber does my spirit seal.

It’s now that time of year when talk of sporting achievement features regularly in the news.  The football/soccer season is drawing to a close, with the final games in the Premier League and the F.A.Cup Final.  We’ve recently had the Grand National and the University Boat Race, and soon to come will be Wimbledon tennis and the European Football Championship.  The sensational story of Leicester City’s unlikely success in the Premier League has eclipsed everything, but it also reminded me of another recent sporting achievement by a denizen of Leicester.

Every year, I look forward to watching the highlights on BBC TV, over a period of two weeks, of the World Snooker Championship, which takes place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.  With the amazing success of the Leicester City football team, it was fitting that the Snooker Championship was won, this year, by “The Jester from Leicester” Mark Selby.  I always succumb to the hypnotic effect, late at night, of watching the supremely skilled snooker players going about their gentle art, and the above poem is a tribute to them.



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