Poetry: Beaten But Not Bruised, For Black Stars in 2010

July 11, 2010
Vivek Sharma

I am here to say what score-lines, statistics will not show, not say
on July 2, 2010, the Black Stars played as a pack of tigers on attack,
like disciplined Ashanti warriors, covered the battleground with shots
not one of which was let out without a soaring roar from a spirit
that will not cower, that will not submit. With the honor

that swells and raises every supporter's fist,
I declare you Ghana, the beloved at the tryst,
with your sweeping runs, you earned inch
after inch, and your rousing extra-time play
was almost like a masterpiece from an artist.


But greatness, when it begins in men and women, transcends
the moment when they acquire it. Enlightenment stays with us,
the dream and its expense remains in us, and Black stars, that ability,
that gift you claimed in your veins, will win you the moon if you aspire it.

When the men take the ground, run around, like children chasing
a ball, many pen-paper-men ask, is it a worthy task
for the best built bodies? How will the empty stomach celebrate,
or the living conditions change, if the poorest nations win
in a match of kicks and tricks this season?

The gambit of hope, of advancing no inheritance, just skill,
with team-play, by action, and sheer faith to fight:
the excellence on field parallels the best of human qualities...
In the houses where cooking produces just ashes of despair,
healing hymns and rhymes of sport show you if you have the flair,
you can be a famed gladiator in the rich-man's dreamlands.

Chinua says, things fall apart, yes, they do, but like autumn
sheds leaves, seed to start afresh in spring, the bruised
will heal. Gyan! Why you missed one you mustn't ask,
the bar of expectation was too low for your task,
but there won't be such a surprise again,
when the Black Stars will strike again.

Gita says: "You control only actions, but not the results,
even if the results are adverse, continue your actions."
Since the victory is in action, irrespective of the result,
Fold your jerseys bathed in your golden sweat, kiss your boots
and accept a bow from fans who cheer across the world for you.

There will a day Ghana when no hand, no bells and whistle,
no intervention, human or divine, will stand to stop you.

Vivek Sharma is a Pushcart nominated poet, an engineer with a PhD, a career scientist and an Indian-American writer. His work is published or forthcoming in Poetry, Atlanta Review, The Cortland Review, Kartika Review, Bateau, etc. He contributes columns and verses to Divya Himachal (Hindi newspaper in India) and his research is published in science journals. Vivek spend his childhood in Himachal Pradesh, undergraduate days in IIT Delhi, doctoral days in & around Georgia Tech, Atlanta and is currently a postdoctoral research associate in Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MA). Vivek's first collection, "Saga of a Crumpled Piece of Paper" (63 poems, English) will be published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta in 2009.
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