Play The Game

Jessie Pope 1868 (Leicester) – 1941 (Devon)



Twenty-Two stalwarts in stripes and shorts
Kicking a ball along,
Set in a square of leather-lunged sports
Twenty-two thousand strong,
Some of them shabby, some of them spruce,
Savagely clamorous all,
Hurling endearments, advice or abuse,
At the muscular boys on the ball.

Stark and stiff 'neath a stranger's sky
A few hundred miles away,
War-worn, khaki-clad figures lie,
Their faces rigid and grey
Stagger and drop where the bullets swarm,
Where the shrapnel is bursting loud,
Die, to keep England safe and warm
For a vigorous football crowd !

Football's a sport, and a rare sport too,
Don't make it a source of shame.
To-day there are worthier things to do.
Englishmen, play the game!
A truce to the League, a truce to the Cup,
Get to work with a gun,
When our country's at war we must all back up
It's the only thing to be done!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 31, 2023

46 sec read
258

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABCDCD EFEFGHGH IJIJKLKL
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 839
Words 150
Stanzas 3
Stanza Lengths 8, 8, 8

Jessie Pope

Jessie Pope was an English poet, writer and journalist, who remains best known for her patriotic motivational poems published during World War I. Wilfred Owen directed his 1917 poem Dulce et Decorum Est at Pope, whose literary reputation has faded into relative obscurity as those of war poets such as Owen and Siegfried Sassoon have grown. more…

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    "Play The Game" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/43063/play-the-game>.

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